Earlier this year, the University of Wisconsin-Madison became an international hotspot for the meat-processing industry — even as temperatures hovered around 0°F. UW-Madison was the location of the first-ever U.S.-IFFA Quality Competition, held January 11-13. More than 300 meat products were submitted for the event, as members of the German Butchers Association flew to the country just to judge the sausages, hams and meat snacks.

The IFFA Quality Competition is one of the highlights of the IFFA trade show, which is held every three years in Frankfurt, Germany. The competition, considered one of the most prestigious in the world, seeks top meat products from around the world. However, many foreign visitors have been unable to get their products through customs during the most recent shows. In order to give the competition a more international flavor, the GBA worked with the American Association of Meat Processors to create an American version. The same judges who will be at IFFA (scheduled for May 7-12, 2016) flew to Wisconsin to consider the American entries. Any gold and silver medals will be awarded at IFFA, along with the rest of the winners.

In the slideshow above are some pictures taken on January 11, the opening day of the judging.