In the days following a July 2011 storm that hit AURI’s facilities Marshall, Minn., staff began to notice that there was condensation on the ceiling panels of AURI’s meat lab. After further investigation, they discovered, much to their chagrin, that there was significant mold in the ceiling.
To figure out the best remedy, “we wanted to bring in experts in dealing with mold,” explains Carissa Nath, AURI meat scientist. AURI contracted with McInerney Engineering out of Sioux Falls, S.D., to do an assessment, and found out that the mold problems had begun before the storm.
“Once we figured that out, then we started to work with Sussner Construction, who has extensive construction experience within the food processing industry and understands what is necessary for sound construction in order to keep food safe,” explains Nath.
Over the last year, AURI, Sussner’s, and the facilities director at Southwest Minnesota State University, where AURI’s meat lab is located, made many changes to address the previous problems and upgrade the facilities.
The necessary differences in temperature between the smokehouse, processing, and receiving areas were causing some of the problems, so they changed wall configurations, installed an exhaust system, insulated water lines appropriately and put a heating unit in the receiving area.
“We’re now up and running, and we’re starting to have clients in the lab again. It’s been a long road, but now we have a great facility that we are putting to use to serve the small- and medium-sized meat processors in Minnesota,” concludes Nath.