Meat Processing and Food Safety Certificate Course Draws Registrants from Near and Far

SUNY Cobleskill’s Office of Professional and Continuing Education Runs a Meat Processing and Food Safety Certificate Course at the College. Registrants for the Spring 2019 Session are attending from as Far Away as California and Australia.

Under the tutelage of experts Chef Michael Lapi and Meat Laboratory Manager Betsy Jensen, “students” enrolled in SUNY Cobleskill’s Meat Processing and Food Safety certificate course gain a comprehensive set of meat processing skills. The series begins by working with lamb and goat, moves onto hog, and concludes with beef. Along the way the education keys in on topics such as packaging, primal fabrication, value-added products, knife skills and safety, slaughter, and sanitation.

Some enroll to ascend in their careers. Jaime Padilla, a partner/owner of a meat market in Monterrey County, California, is here with hopes of decreasing his reliance on butchers unaffiliated with his business. “I got to a point where I was a partner, and had my degree, and asked myself, ‘where can I go from here?’” says Padilla. “I had very little hands-on training, especially with slaughter. I want to be able to work with [customers and buyers] who know everything, and who know nothing.”

Others arrive with little-to-no experience. The Spring 2019 group of registrants includes a member of CAS – Cobleskill Auxiliary Services, and a school teacher. There is a bit of global influence to this year’s session, thanks to Andrew James, who operates a beef cow farm in his native Australia, and plans to open a retail butcher shop. The lengthy period of time it takes to earn the necessary credentials in Australia brings James to New York.

“The backgrounds of the instructors, and the different ambitions of all the others have generated some intense discussion,” says James. “[I may want to focus on] the business aspect, and so I can have that conversation with Mike Lapi – he has that perspective and that experience. But I think we all have different goals, built around similar skills.”

Lauren Rosenthal is another California native, who is exploring the possibility of employment in the value-added products sector of meat processing, and echoes James’ point. She says the wisdom of Lapi, Jensen, and everybody else has contributed to a program well worth the cross-country journey.

“This course was recommended to me by people in Hawaii, Minnesota, and Washington,” says Rosenthal. “For one month, you learn about as much as you possibly can.”

That precisely is the appeal of this certificate course, and the reason registrations come in from around the country and world. To see a list of professional and career training certificate programs, upcoming workshops, and educational partnerships, please visit SUNY Cobleskill’s Office of Professional and Continuing Education (PACE) at:

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