students working at meat processing counter

Global Food Innovation Center

The JBS Global Food Innovation Center in honor of Gary and Kay Smith is a world-class facility for research, education, and innovation at Colorado State University. The facility celebrates the longstanding partnership that CSU and JBS USA, one of the world’s leading global food companies, have built over many years.

The multidisciplinary nature of Center involves expertise in all aspects of the protein value chain from production to consumption including:

  • Animal handling and well-being
  • Nutrition and health
  • Food safety and security
  • Value-added and culinary development
  • International collaboration

Innovative and Educational Meat Processing Plant

The Center includes a pilot meat processing plant with complete livestock and meat ‘ready-to-eat’ production, a Temple Grandin-designed animal system education area, a research and development center and sensory analysis room, a meat demonstration classroom, and a retail meat storefront. Surrounding the pilot plant are formal and informal educational spaces for student and industry learning and interaction. State-of-the-art laboratories and facilities offer innovative and modern approaches to education and research in meat science.

Meat processing facility designed by Temple Grandin

Student Experiential Learning, Research, and Employment

The GFIC provides opportunities for experiential learning and employment that are otherwise difficult to obtain for full time students.

Over 250 Students

Use the Center on a regular basis for coursework at the undergraduate and graduate levels.

 20 Student Employees

Work in the facility each week gaining hands-on knowledge of harvest, fabrication, meat processing, packaging, quality assurance and USDA regulatory activities.

Students Are Involved

In developing a co-branded beef product with Certified Angus Beef and Ram Country Meats as part of a supply-chain alignment experiential learning project

Students serving food at Ag Day

Extracurricular Activities Supporting Student Learning Outcomes and Youth Engagement

The GFIC is a hub for extracurricular activities that encourage participation in the meat industry, promote industry best practices and to advance initiatives benefitting local communities. Examples include:

  • Organizing, hosting and providing informal mentorship for the Colorado state level 4-H and FFA Career Development meat judging contests.
  • Hosting the National Western Round Up 4-H and FFA meat judging contests.
  • Organizing and hosting weekend meat judging “mock” contests for local and out-of-state teams in anticipation of the Denver Collegiate Meat Judging Contest.
  • Dedicating facilities and activities for fundraising projects like smoked prime rib and pork ribs, that help to defray expenses for the Livestock and Meat Judging Teams.
box of meat sticks

Beef Sticks for Backpacks

The Center and its staff are significant contributors to initiatives to improve well-being in Colorado communities. An important industry partnership is the Beef Sticks for Back Packs program, a non-profit organization committed to the goal of distributing high quality, high protein beef sticks into children’s backpack programs throughout the state of Colorado.

Read Full SOURCE Story About Beef Sticks for Backpacks

cattle drive in Denver

Industry Engagement

  • The Center is a focal point for training and hosting activities in support of the meat industry.
  • Frequent facility tours acquaint meat professionals and lay audiences with food safety, animal welfare and meat production principles used in the design and production of contemporary processing facilities.
  • The GFIC serves as a host site for industry training and education meetings and leading and convening critical conversations around important topics for the animal agriculture industry in Colorado, and beyond.

Food Innovation Center at CSU Spur

A second Food Innovation Center opened at CSU’s Spur Campus in Denver in June 2022. The Food Innovation Center in Spur’s Terra building provides opportunities for consumers to become more familiar with food processing techniques and the complexities tied to product design and development. CSU Spur’s Denver location will greatly improve the visibility and reach of Colorado State University’s expertise in food production.

In collaboration with CSU’s Department of Food Science and Human Nutrition, College of Agricultural Sciences faculty and research staff aim to partner with dairy, meat and produce industry leaders and commodity associations.