The Food Product and Safety Laboratory

Independent study students conducting chemical analyses on meat products. (Photo courtesy of John Marchello)
Independent study students conducting chemical analyses on meat products. (Photo courtesy of John Marchello)

John Marchello, professor of animal sciences, teaches Food Safety and Microbiology, Introductory Animal Science, Honors Food Safety, and Meat Animal Composition, among other courses. His research studies over the years have involved various food safety issues with regard to meat products and other foods, and evaluation of meat animal carcasses for quality, cutability, chemical composition, tenderness and sensory evaluation. His outreach work is extensive; Marchello is frequently called upon to work with small businesses, consumers and county fairs on food safety issues, carcass evaluation, Hazard Analysis and Critical Control Point Certification and live animal evaluation.

As a child in Montana, Marchello’s experience with meat animals was extensive. He grew up in a small community where his dad owned a meat market. "We fed a lot of cattle and ran a lot of cattle on grass." In high school, he was heavily involved in FFA and had a large herd of Hereford cows. “In the market, I learned to process carcasses into various retail cuts and worked with consumers to improve selection of various meat cuts.”

“As an undergraduate at Montana State University, I worked in the Meat Science Laboratory harvesting and processing various meat animals,” Marchello said. “While working on my master’s degree, I was given the responsibility of directing that laboratory during the absence of the meat scientist.”

At Colorado State University, Marchello pursued a doctorate in animal genetics and biochemistry. There he was employed as an instructor for the first time, teaching animal practicums laboratory and meat science laboratory. After completing his degree in 1965, Marchello was hired at the University of Arizona as a meat scientist.

Marchello now directs the Food Product and Safety Laboratory, formerly called the Meat Science Laboratory. The lab is heavily involved in conducting microbiological and chemical analyses of food products and training students in food safety procedures. They analyze food products for consumers and for businesses that need to develop nutritional labels for their products. The lab serves a number of ranches in Arizona and New Mexico by harvesting and processing their animals for direct marketing. The lab also furnishes anatomical parts for research and teaching purposes.  Workshops are held two or three times a year on food safety issues and meat animal composition.

“This facility provides an outstanding opportunity for students to gain ‘hands on’ experience,” said Marchello. “They work with meat animals, carcasses and especially with instrumentation designed to evaluate food products for microbiological evaluation and chemical analyses.”

Date released: 
Mar 20 2013
John Marchello