Renovating the Food Products and Safety Laboratory

March 30, 2023

A better future for livestock and people


Woman in hairnet, gloves, and lab coat, writes on package
Joshua Reed Photography

You may wonder what is happening with the UArizona’s Food Products and Safety Laboratory (FPLS), having heard—perhaps through the proverbial grapevine—that its livestock processing has been paused since the first of the year. Well, here is the scoop:

Following the approval by the state legislature of the UArizona’s request for $10.9 million to renovate and update our FPSL, many of us within ACBS have many working with others in the university in gathering input on what improvements should be made. The FPSL is one of a few animal processing facilities in the state that is USDA approved, and hence it has played a vital role in serving the state’s livestock growers. Equally important, as a university-operated facility, the FPSL serves the teaching, research, and extension needs of ACBS and the wider university community and its stakeholders. The renovations planned over the coming months, therefore, will enhance the FPSL’s animal processing, teaching, and research capacities. We are confident that the state’s investment will well position the FPSL to serve the needs of our university and Arizona’s livestock industries long into the future.

An overarching aspect of the renovations is for the facility to continue to improve its humane handling of livestock, which is monitored regularly by the USDA. We are dedicated to using state-of-the art equipment and providing employee training that ensures the highest standards of humane handling. Evaluation of our equipment and practices will be provided by outside expert consultants.  Lastly, we have hired Francisco Javier Valenzuela as the new, full-time FPSL manager. We are grateful to Dr. Sam Garcia for his leadership of the FPSL for the past eight years. Dr. Garcia’s experience and expertise will be helpful in the redesign of the facility, as he continues in his full-time position as Associate Professor of Practice.

Although the FPSL has paused its livestock processing so that we can get underway with the renovation, teaching and research activities will continue at the facility for as long as possible. We hope that the newly renovated FPSL will resume its full scope of activities by early 2024.

UArizona FPSL Announces Hiring of New Manager

The University of Arizona School of Animal and Comparative Biomedical Sciences is thrilled to announce the hiring of Francisco Javier Valenzuela as the Manager of the UArizona Food Product and Safety Lab (FPSL). 
Valenzuela brings a wealth of industry and business experience to the FPSL. For the past 11 years, Valenzuela has been the Plant Manager at beef processor Procesadora y Empacadora Ganadera de Sonora in Hermosillo, Sonora—a facility with 120 employees, harvesting 60 cattle per hour.

Valenzuela earned a bachelor’s degree in financial management at the Instituto Tecnológico Superior de Monterrey in Guadalajara in 2000, and a master’s in business administration in 2014. He has also held managerial positions at Curtiss-Wright in Nogales, Sonora; Sargent Controls & Aerospace in Guaymas, Sonora, and Trane in Monterrey, Nuevo León.

In his new position, Valenzuela will be responsible for both the operational and fiscal management of the FPSL. Valenzuela will manage the FPSL’s role in facilitating UArizona’s teaching, research and extension missions, while ensuring compliance with USDA-FSIS meat inspection regulations and delivering high quality services and products for FPSL clients and stakeholders. Valenzuela will start his new role at UA sometime in summer 2023 after completing the visa process.