Universal Laboratories Building is a building in Dassel, Minnesota, United States, listed on the National Register of Historic Places. It was listed on the National Register for its role in the production of ergot from the mid-1930s through the late 1960s.
The business was established in 1935 as Rice Laboratories, as a manufacturer of yeast for livestock feed. Yeast was used as a feed supplement because the enzymes fermenting in the digestive tracts of hogs and poultry would break down food and help in nutrient absorption. In 1937, the company built a new building on the north edge of town. In that same year, the manager of the company, Lester R. Peel, started production of ergot. Local farmers were discarding rye that was infected with sclerotia growths, because the ergot could cause deadly poisoning. Peel, a former school teacher, understood that the ergot also had medical applications, such as controlling postpartum bleeding and treating vasoconstriction, hypertension, vascul