Terry Burkhardt, Russell Maas, and James Peterson will be inducted into the Meat Industry Hall of Fame on May 1 during a luncheon of the Wisconsin Livestock and Meat Council in Madison.
As director of the Wisconsin Meat Inspection Service, Terry Burkhardt helped transform food inspection to a business-specific and science-based effort that emphasized prevention. He gained national attention for building industry compliance with food safety regulations by using educational programs from University of Wisconsin Extension and improving communications between meat businesses and state regulators.
Burkhardt advocated widely for the Wisconsin meat industry and is credited with helping remove barriers to the interstate sales of meat from state-inspected facilities. He has held leadership positions in national associations and has earned national recognition in shaping food safety regulations. Burkhardt retired from DATCP in 2007 and resides in Madison.
As a scientist with the Oscar Mayer and Co., Russell Maas was known for his breakthroughs in meat processing. Foremost of these is a technology that causes pieces of meat to adhere to each other during processing. The invention is now used worldwide to produce many boneless meat products.
Maas also published more than 200 research reports and received four industry patents during his tenure at Oscar Mayer. His work lead to the development of shelf-stable meals for the U.S. armed forces, pioneering developments in food irradiation, and a system to provide high-quality animal tissue for research laboratories. Maas died in 1980.
As the owner of the Lodi Locker, James Peterson manufactured more than 96 value-added meat and cheese products such as turkey bacon, sectioned and formed ham, sectioned and formed smoked beef, and summer sausage. The firm's products won more than 140 awards in state and national competitions, including the Governor's Cup in 1977.
After selling the Lodi Locker, Peterson joined a company that marketed meat processing equipment. Small meat processors recognize him as the "traveling teacher" who helped them develop new products and processes while many students at university- and industry-sponsored workshops know him as an expert on meat cooking and smoking. Peterson has held leadership positions on state and national associations and has always advocated for the meat business. Peterson resides in Lodi.
The Meat Industry Hall of Fame recognizes individuals who have had a significant impact on the meat industry of Wisconsin.