Experimental Meat

September 14th, 2011 by Christian

(or: University Public Engagement — a New Meaning)

(click to enlarge)

That’s right, today’s topic is the sales room at the Meat Science Laboratory at 1503 South Maryland Avenue, Urbana, IL 61801. They sell meat. And they are at the Meat Science Laboratory.

If you go there does that mean you are eating experimental meat? Meat produced… for science? I asked the manager, and in fact that’s just what it means.

He assured me that everything was USDA inspected. Sure, sure. But what kind of science is this meat science? I asked him to give me an example of a research project involving this meat. He said that they did not talk about specific projects but that they were all run by University faculty members.

That sounds a little shady. I’d go to a hospital run by university faculty members. But a grocery store? A dog groomer? Would you go to a Pier One Imports run exclusively by university faculty members? It seems like a mismatch. Maybe that’s why my daughter is afraid to come here.

But I love it.

Where else can you get University-branded meat?  The University of Wisconsin–Madison has that crazy orange chocolate chip ice cream made at the university dairy.  We have this meat.

It’s fresh and tasty. You can meet the herd — some of them hang around a field on the south side of Windsor Road. Now that’s eating local.

I also asked the manager: are there any faculty meat research projects involving organic, grass-fed beef?  He said no. This was wishful thinking on my part. (Damn you, ConAgra!)

4 Responses to “Experimental Meat”

  1. Guillaume Says:

    “Where else can you get University-branded meat?”

    College sports?

  2. lisa nakamura Says:

    I love the meat lab. it is clean, you can subscribe to something called “meat mail” which is a weekly email updating you on what’s new (pork packs for $29.99) and telling the story of the daily life of a meat processing enthusiast. You are waited on by students who are really into what they’re doing. It’s also full of Asian internationals who know good meat when they see it. also, the Sidney Fire Department shops here. I saw a guy buy a side of beef and put it in his truck.

  3. Ed Says:

    You may remember UC Davis also has a Meat Science Laboratory. It does sound ominous, but students get valuable real-world skills. And customers gets delicious meat!

    http://animalscience.ucdavis.edu/facilities/meat.htm

  4. Dan Collis-Puro Says:

    Did I ever tell you that the beef jerky you gave to Berkman over the holidays was some of the best I’ve had? Whatever science they’re doing to the meat works, tell them to keep it up!

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