Meats Laboratory

The Iowa State University Meats Laboratory is a federally inspected facility with the capability for slaughtering and complete processing of meat animals including cattle, hogs, sheep, and goats. It has a full complement of sausage-making equipment, mostly of small commercial production size. The lab is utilized by animal science classes, research projects, and extension programs. It available to private companies for product and process development.

This state-of-the-art meat laboratory supports technology and product development. The lab has full processing capabilities starting with slaughter for red meats. Further processed meats, such as franks, luncheon meat and fermented products, can also be produced. The lab is available to private companies for product and process development. A retail sales outlet for disposal of meat products produced in the course of teaching, research and extension activities is available to the public.

Analytical Laboratories
An analytical laboratory is available for analyzing of a wide range of physical and chemical properties of meat. Analysis is available on a per sample fee basis. 

The meat laboratory has complete on-the-rail slaughter facilities for all species: beef, pork, lamb and goats. Stunning is accomplished with electrical and captive bolt devices. Dehiding of cattle is done with air dehiders and scalding of hogs is done using the most modern scalder/dehairer available. The slaughter floor has high speed splitting saws and air driven auxiliary saws for brisket opening and scribing.

A high velocity air blast cooler is used for chilling. Two additional coolers provide space for carcass storage and viewing. All coolers are equipped for temperature control and monitoring of carcass and environmental temperature.

A complete poultry slaughter line is available with appropriate stunning, picking, chilling and packaging equipment. Further processing of poultry products can be accomplished in the processing areas of the Meat Lab.

For cutting, the latest power saw equipment is available. Saws range from ultra high speed band saws to air driven break up saws. Whizzard knives are available for trimming boning. Townsend skinners are also used.

Packaging is accomplished with standard equipment including retail tray over wrap as well as pouch type and roll stock vacuum packaging machines. Standard clip type vacuum bag equipment is also available. Some cases are available for package life studies.

Freezing can be accomplished with conventional air blast units or a cryogenic cabinet equipped for liquid nitrogen or carbon dioxide. All freezers and coolers are equipped for product and environmental temperature monitoring with readout to an external source.

Meat Particle Reduction
Meat particle reduction can be accomplished by a wide range of methods. These are conventional and high volume grinders. Several of these have bone particle removing attachments. A frozen meat grinder is also available. The chopper is a Kramer-Grebe high-speed vacuum, steam jacketed cooking chopper from Germany. It also has carbon dioxide chilling capabilities. A single plate emulsion mill can also be used in continuous sausage production.

Stuffing and Linking
Stuffing and linking equipment include Vemag and Riso stuffers with portioner and linker as well as a special stuffing screw for sectioned and formed. These can also be used as pumps to drive a Frank0A-Matic linker or feed a mini-Famco or Devro linker. For large diameter casings, several Tippertie closing machines are available. Franks and small diameter skinless product can be peeled with a high speed Townsend peeler.

Smoking and Drying
For smoking and drying, Iowa State has the latest design in thermal processing equipment capable of low and high temperature cooking using natural and liquid smoke. This equipment also is capable of steam cooking as well as fermentation and smoking of dry sausage and dry cured meat.

Other cooking equipment includes commercial ovens, broilers and grills as well as convection and microwave cooking units. Steam and water cooking vessels and cabinets are also available for use.

Mixing and Blending
Mixing and blending can be done using a conventional mixer or vacuum mixers with carbon dioxide chilling and the choice of paddles or ribbons.

Curing equipment includes conventional stitch or artery pump and dry cure facilities as well as the latest Townsend injection equipment. Tumbling and massaging equipment is available as well as ham stuffing and pressing equipment.

Slicing of cured and smoked meats and sausage is accomplished with a conventional automatic and manual electric slicers.