On Friday, January 22nd 2016, twenty-five individuals were awarded the distinction of Master Meat Crafter by University of Wisconsin – Madison Meat Science Extension and the Wisconsin Department of Agriculture, Trade, and Consumer Protection. This is the third graduating class of the Master Meat Crafter program—a two year training course focused on meat science and specialty meat product manufacture.
The graduation event took place in Madison, Wisconsin where participants presented their individual plant projects during the day on Thursday, January 21st and Friday, January 22nd. The Master Meat Crafter commencement ceremony took place on the evening of Friday, January 22nd. Featured speakers of the evening included Wisconsin Secretary of Agriculture, Ben Brancel, UW College of Agricultural and Life Sciences Dean Kate Vandenbosch, and UW-Madison Department of Animal Sciences Chair, Dan Schaefer.
“Congratulations to all the Master Meat Crafters for their commitment to developing and perfecting their skills,” said Department of Agriculture, Trade and Consumer Protection (DATCP) Secretary Ben Brancel. “The breadth of projects completed by these graduates will benefit not only their individual meat businesses but the entire specialty meats industry.”
The Master Meat Crafter program comprises several meat science short courses and workshops, an extensive mentorship program to share the knowledge gained with employees or coworkers, and individual research projects based in the candidates’ processing plants. Topics covered throughout the two year training course include general meat processing, fresh meats, curing, fermented & dried products, cooked & emulsified products, food safety & meat microbiology, and development/implementation of HACCP (Hazard Analysis and Critical Control Points).
“Master Meat Crafter graduates set the Wisconsin meat industry apart as a leader in the nation,” added Brancel. “We welcome anyone from other states to come learn from our Master Meat Crafter Program.”
This unique program had humble beginnings as a means to strengthen and improve the meat industry in Wisconsin. As the initiative gained momentum, the Master Meat Crafter brand has expanded as far as the east coast and Alberta, Canada. Upon status, each graduate will be able to exhibit their expertise and knowledge by use of the Master Meat Crafter logo on their product labels, signage, web presence, or personal branding.
The Master Meat Crafter Program has been developed in conjunction with the Specialty Meat Development Center and is supported by DATCP, University of Wisconsin Meat Science Extension, University of Wisconsin-Madison, and the Wisconsin Association of Meat Processors. The goals of the program are to: 1) provide participants with well rounded, in-depth, and comprehensive knowledge about meat science/meat processing principles, 2) provide development opportunities for the future meat industry leaders, and 3) help ensure the US meat industry remains strong and viable for years to come. It was created and is currently organized by Dr. Jeff Sindelar, University of Wisconsin-Madison Associate Professor and Extension Meat Specialist.