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Three to be Inducted into Wisconsin Meat Hall of Fame
Wisconsin Ag Connection - 03/07/2016

John Alferi, John Cerveny and Andrew Milkowski will be inducted into the Wisconsin Meat Industry Hall of Fame this spring in Madison. The program aims to honor individuals for their lifetime contributions to the meat production industry.

Alferi headed the business founded by his grandfather, Alferi Laboratories, which grew into a leading provider of seasonings, food service equipment and information, and food label software, printing and transfer technology. Alferi's innovations include unit packaging of seasonings for specific-sized meat batches, custom blending of seasonings, Blend Master software to track all phases of processing, and Label Tailor software to format, store and print labels. After Alferi Laboratories was purchased by Kerry Ingredients, Alferi formed a consulting business in order to meet the demand for his assistance and expertise from former customers.

Cerveny joined Oscar Mayer in 1958 as a microbiologist, where he worked until his retirement in 1996. He led the successful effort to isolate the company's proprietary fermented sausage starter culture - before commercial starter cultures were available. With UW scientists, he proved that sodium nitrite prevents growth and toxin production by Clostridium botulinum in processed meats. Cerveny also served on key industry committees that developed validation protocols for the inactivation of a dangerous strain of E. coli in fermented sausage.

Milkowski was also employed with Oscar Mayer, where he rose through the ranks to become a Kraft Foods Fellow. He led the research effort that established the use of lactate, diacetate and other antimicrobial compounds to prevent growth of Listeria monocytogenes in processed meats. These compounds are now used throughout the industry to protect consumers. When the safety of sodium nitrite was questioned, Milkowski led the effort to educate scientists and regulatory agencies of its safety, convincing regulators that not only is the compound safe, but it is an important tool to help protect public health. He is an internationally respected expert in meat processing and formulation optimization, with 10 patents and many original publications to his name. After retiring from Kraft Foods in 2006, he joined the UW-Madison Department of Animal Sciences as an adjunct professor, where he continues to educate students and future meat processors.

This year's nominees will be inducted during the annual meeting of the Wisconsin Livestock and Meat Council on May 5 at the Sheraton Madison Hotel.

The Hall of Fame program, which was created in 1993, is coordinated by and housed in the University of Wisconsin-Madison Meat Science and Muscle Biology Laboratory.

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