Nov. 12, 2009

Make room in your freezer

by Erin Rosacker

Tradition is a big part of the holidays for many people. If one of yours happens to be purchasing the celebratory main course from the ISU Meat Laboratory, you had better get there between 11 a.m. and 1 p.m. on Friday. After Nov. 13, retail sales at the Meat Lab in Kildee Hall will cease until mid-January while new refrigeration equipment is installed.

Despite the Meat Laboratory shutdown, the Block and Bridle Club still is conducting its annual summer sausage and cheese fund-raising sales through Dec. 4. Call 4-1865 for more information.

"The Thanksgiving and Christmas holidays are not the favorite time of the year for contractors to have a work project," said Joseph Cordray, animal science professor and Extension meat specialist. "However, it is being done at this time to minimize the effect on teaching, research and Extension activities."

ISU's request to spend $1.4 million to replace its outdated refrigeration system was approved by the state Board of Regents in September. The new equipment promises to be more efficient and environmentally friendly. In fact, cost recovery for the project should be realized in about five years.

"Over the last two to three years, the Meat Laboratory refrigeration system has experienced escalating repair costs and there have been serious concerns about the dependability of the system," Cordray said. "The Meat Laboratory is an important part of many activities relating to undergraduate teaching, graduate teaching, research, Extension and industry collaborations."

The unsold inventory of retail products will be stored at a freezer warehouse in Des Moines and in a Friley Hall ISU Dining storage area. In anticipation of the project, this semester's classwork in the Meat Lab was scheduled around the facility's shutdown.

"The Meat Laboratory plans to be back in business by Jan. 13, 2010," Cordray said. "We look forward to again being able to serve our retail customers at that time."