Giving Clients Access to a World-class Facility

A partnership with the Iowa State University Meats Laboratory gives Iowa meat producers access to world-class research, technology, and training to keep them informed, updated, and competitive.

“CIRAS helps us educate processors on basic meat science as well as advances in food processing and food safety technology,” said Terry Houser, associate professor and extension meat specialist at Iowa State.

The lab hosts as many as 20 short courses each year, attracting more than 200 participants. CIRAS provides funding and programmatic support to ensure the Meats Lab can deliver world-class education at a reasonable cost to Iowa manufacturers.

“Their short courses reach a global audience on a range of subjects,” said Troy Crowe, CIRAS project manager. “It’s a great networking opportunity because participants get to interact with each other, guest speakers, and Meats Lab personnel.”

The courses attract everyone from research and development personnel to production supervisors to equipment manufacturers and suppliers.

The Meats Lab can also assist with research and development of new products and provide guidance on the use of new equipment like grinders and mixers.

“Let’s say someone wants to add a new ingredient to pepperoni. If they’re not a meat scientist, they’ll likely have trouble knowing where to begin. We can help with that. We have a USDA-inspected processing space and the expertise to take them through the entire product development process from idea to fabrication,” said Houser.

Summer sausage is packed at the ISU Meats Laboratory. The lab is a USDA-inspected facility that provides training and research to food processors.

Houser calls the CIRAS relationship “symbiotic,” noting that each partner gets equal value from working together.

“We need CIRAS out there to let people know that we’re here and that we have the expertise to help them improve,” said Houser. “And Iowa businesses are better off because of the knowledge we share with them.”

For more information, contact Troy Crowe at or 515-203-7735.