“Pork 101” Workshop at Penn State Garners Global Participation

“Pork 101” Workshop at Penn State Garners Global Participation

Penn State’s College of Agricultural Sciences, in collaboration with the American Meat Science Association, recently hosted its second annual “Pork 101” workshop. This three-day, hands-on event, held at Penn State’s University Park campus, focused on pork evaluation and processing, drawing participants from around the world.

The workshop’s objective is to educate attendees about pork production, emphasizing the crucial aspects of quality and consistency management within the pork industry. Instructors shared valuable insights on the significance of pork throughout the supply chain, making it a comprehensive learning experience.

The event attracted a diverse group of 20 participants from various corners of the globe, including the Dominican Republic, Mexico, Colombia, Taiwan, Japan, Serbia, and several U.S. states such as Texas, Georgia, North Carolina, New Jersey, and Virginia. The diverse backgrounds of the attendees led to engaging discussions about the varying approaches to pork production worldwide.

The first day included a visit to Penn State’s Snider Agricultural Arena, where participants observed live hogs and learned from Ben Williamson, assistant teaching professor of animal science, about hog evaluation and selection for fabrication. Penn State experts, including Elizabeth Hines, Bob Mikesell, and Jonathan Campbell, presented on live hog production and fresh pork quality, providing a well-rounded perspective.

Day two involved hands-on experiences, with participants divided into groups led by experts such as Mikesell, Williamson, and Campbell. The sessions covered topics ranging from carcass quality and composition measurement to slaughter floor Hazard Analysis Critical Control Point and microbial interventions. Attendees had the opportunity to engage in fabricating pork carcasses and gain practical insights into the processes.

The final day focused on pork processing topics, featuring presentations by industry experts such as Lyda Garcia from Ohio State University and David Newman from Pork Checkoff. Kayla Barkley from Smithfield Foods discussed bacon processing and moisture-enhanced pork, while Campbell provided samples of cured products for a discussion on processed meat evaluation.

“Pork 101” at Penn State is supported by national sponsors Pork Checkoff and Merck Animal Health. The success of this year’s workshop sets the stage for future collaborations, with Penn State and the American Meat Science Association planning to partner again for the event in October 2024. More details about the workshop can be found at https://meatscience.org/events-education/pork-101.