From concept to market: Summer 2021 interns create unique products for ISU meat lab

ISU meat lab internsFour interns joined the team of meat science experts at the Iowa State University Meats Laboratory this summer to learn about meat processing and gain in-depth experience. Meat science is the intersection between animal science and culinary food science which attracted students from across the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences.

The interns learned about animal harvest and proper meat cutting practices in the USDA inspected facility. They learned first-hand about high quality food safety and plant sanitation practices.

Madison Lansink, a senior in animal science said, “My summer at the ISU Meat Lab was an awesome experience and I would recommend it to any student wanting to learn more about meat science. Everyone there is really great to work with and learn from. My favorite part of the summer was getting hands-on experience on the harvest floor and getting to do our own cutting tests when we fabricated the pigs so we could see how profits and expenses work with the meat we sell in retail sales. Not many students get such valuable one-on-one experience with harvesting animals in the way that we did this summer and it was very beneficial to my learning.”

The students also got experience with product development and learned how to operate the pieces of meat processing equipment. Each one had the opportunity to develop a product and enter it in the American Cured Meats Championship, which is a national competition held in conjunction with the American Association of Meat Processors annual convention.

Will Bareis, a senior in Culinary Food Science, worked on creating an apricot and pepper jack cheese flavored summer sausage. “I chose this product because I haven’t seen many products with apricot in it and thought it would be an interesting thing to try.” Reid Lewin, a junior in Kinesiology and Health developed a gourmet cranberry liver sausage, Madison Lansink created a raspberry chipotle bacon, and Bergin Debruin, developed a loaded baked potato meat bar. Meat lab internship, raspberry chipotle bacon

The students were also very involved in the retail sales aspect at the Iowa State Meats Laboratory. “The Internship this summer was great, it helped give me a new insight on how the whole process from harvest to sales and everything in between,” Bareis said. They gained extensive merchandising experiences while understanding the cuts of meats, pricing, packaging, and completing the retail sales process.

A senior in animal science, Bergin Debruin said, “The meat lab internship showed me all of the aspects of the meat industry while working with great mentors. As a senior, I was able to see an abundance of job opportunities within meat science that I didn’t know existed before which intrigued me. Overall, the internship encouraged me to further pursue a career in the meat science industry,” Debruin said

ISU meat lab internshipIf you are interested in becoming an intern or working as a student in the ISU Meats Laboratory, be sure to visit them at the upcoming career fair or email Mike Holtzbauer at

You can purchase products from the Iowa State Meat Lab every Friday between 11 am and 1 pm in the Kildee Hall atrium or order online for curbside pickup: