Department of Animal & Food Sciences launches 'Meat School in Spanish'
As Latin American countries are becoming leading players in the meat and poultry market, Texas Tech is taking a big step toward providing valuable insight to those individuals about how the industry works in the United States. As part of that effort, Tech's Department of Animal and Food Sciences hosted its first 'Meat School in Spanish' in October.
During the week-long course, 30 participants from seven Latin America countries were provided a comprehensive overview of current U.S. meat science industry trends and developments. At the core of the process was a series of lectures, hands-on activities, demonstrations and plant tours.
Tech professors and industry professionals from all facets of the industry were utilized as presenters. Marcos Sanchez-Plata, an associate professor with Tech's Department of Animal and Food Sciences, was key to organizing the school.
"Everybody wins and that's the beauty of this," Sanchez-Plata said. "Professors get to learn from problems these countries face, and they get to share their knowledge. Meanwhile, the students get exposure in an intensive manner to the whole chain, and then they get to take what they learn and implement it in their countries."
Sanchez-Plata explained that the 'Meat School in Spanish' program focused specifically on the beef and pork industries. Sessions covered a wide range of topics from animal welfare, processing, packaging, food safety to value-added products.
"The key thing was combining lectures with labs and hands-on activities or tours," Sanchez-Plata said.
Beyond the daily activities, he said there are evening socials that further enriched the participants' experience. These events offered participants an opportunity to network with each other, along with attending professors and industry representatives.
Sanchez-Plata hopes to see the program's success continue as the interest from sponsors and producers in Latin America grows. He stressed the effort wouldn't have been possible without the assistance of many individuals.
"It's a combined effort that requires involvement from the faculty, students, staff, and recruitment and participation from producers in that region," Sanchez-Plata said. "There's a lot of moving pieces that make this successful. We have all those pieces here, and we can have a successful, ongoing program every year."
Sanchez-Plata hopes to grow the program into one or two sessions yearly. Tech's next 'Meat School in Spanish' session is anticipated to occur next summer.
Written by Kayla Wilkins
CONTACT: Michael Orth, chairman, Department of Animal and Food Sciences, Texas Tech University at (806) 742-2805 or firstname.lastname@example.org
1117NM15 / Editor's Note: To learn more about the 'Meat School in Spanish' program, contact email@example.com or follow the school's Facebook page
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