By Amanda Brodhagen, Farms.com
A collaborative venture between four universities will create Canada’s first program in meat science. The program will be made possible thanks to a $1.6-million grant from the Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada.
The program will be offered at the University of Alberta, but a network of other institutions including – University of Saskatchewan, the University of Guelph and the Université Laval, will make up the Canadian Meat Education and Training Network.
Program creators aim to have 50 students graduate over the next three years. Additionally, the newly created network hopes to offer meat science programs at all four partner universities by 2020. Until now, students who wished to purse studies in meat science have had to go south of the boarder to obtain their education. But soon, Canada will have a meat education program of its own.
Creating a meat science program will address a gap that exists in the meat industry in Canada. Presently, the average age of those involved in the meat industry, especially mangers, is pegged at about 50 years of age. Thus there is a growing demand for a skilled workforce in the sector. While there are a significant amount of people who work in the meat industry, the vast majority may not have the skills that are required for management positions.
The program will offer four main subject areas including: meat microbiology, meat processing, biochemistry and muscle-food economics. In addition to the theoretical components of the program, students will also be required to take part in a four-month internship.
Participating universities are working on getting the program recognized by the Canadian Meat Council and the Canadian Meat Science Association.