Meat cutters cut carcasses of animals into large and smaller parts for further processing. They remove bones from pre-processed carcasses of animals either manually or using machines.
The following job titles also refer to meat cutter:
No formal educational credential is generally required to work as a meat cutter.
ISCO skill level
ISCO skill level is defined as a function of the complexity and range of tasks and duties to be performed in an occupation. It is measured on a scale from 1 to 4, with 1 the lowest level and 4 the highest, by considering:
- the nature of the work performed in an occupation in relation to the characteristic tasks and duties
- the level of formal education required for competent performance of the tasks and duties involved and
- the amount of informal on-the-job training and/or previous experience in a related occupation required for competent performance of these tasks and duties.
Meat cutter is a Skill level 2 occupation.
Meat cutter career path
These occupations, although different, require a lot of knowledge and skills similar to meat cutter.
Long term prospects
These occupations require some skills and knowledge of meat cutter. They also require other skills and knowledge, but at a higher ISCO skill level, meaning these occupations are accessible from a position of meat cutter with a significant experience and/or extensive training.
Essential knowledge and skills
This knowledge should be acquired through learning to fulfill the role of meat cutter.
- Documentation concerning meat production: Understand legal identification documents and marks which cover animal movement, identification, and health status. Understand information in commercial books of meat production.
- Cultural practices regarding animal parts sorting: The religious and cultural practices regarding animal parts sorting as to not mix meat parts with other parts that may inhibit religion practitioners from eating the meat.
- Cultural practices regarding animal slaughter: Understand cultural or religious rules and traditions regarding the slaughter of animals.
- Animal anatomy for food production: The anatomy of animals, their organs and their functions, as well as the usage of these organs for food production after slaughtering.
Essential skills and competences
These skills are necessary for the role of meat cutter.
- Maintain cutting equipment: Maintenance of the cutting equipment (knives, cutters, and other elements).
- Tolerate strong smells: Tolerate strong smells expelled by the goods being processed during the production of goods.
- Ensure sanitation: Keep workspaces and equipment free from dirt, infection, and disease by removing waste, trash and providing for appropriate cleaning.
- Operate cutting equipment: Operate cutting equipment specific to the activities undergone in this phase of slaughtering and meat processing. Use machinery, chainsaws, knives, and separators to open animal carcasses and separate these into parts for processing.
- Ensure refrigeration of food in the supply chain: Apply different procedures to maintain the chain of temperature of foodstuffs and products in each stage of the production and supply chain.
- Mark differences in colours: Identify differences between colours, such as shades of colour.
- Weigh parts of animal carcasses: After cutting and deboning, weigh the prepared parts of meat for the next process in the manufacturing of meat products or for direct selling. Tag containers for weight and contents.
- Handle knives for cutting activities: Use various types of knives and cutters used in the cutting and deboning process. Use techniques for the usage of the knives. Select the right knives for the job at hand. Take care of the knives.
- Apply HACCP: Apply regulations regarding manufacture of food and food safety compliance. Employ food safety procedures based on Hazard Analysis Critical Control Points (HACCP).
- Trace meat products: Take the regulations regarding the traceability of final products within the sector into account.
- Process livestock organs: Process livestock organs and other byproducts for meat manufacturing processes. Remove organs from carcasses and perform activities such as cutting or dividing parts, washing organs, execute specific treatments, packaging, and labelling.
- Cope with blood: Cope with blood, organs, and other internal parts without feeling distressed.
- Follow hygienic procedures during food processing: Ensure a clean working space according to hygienic standards in the food processing industry.
- Use cutting equipment: Use knives, cleavers, meat saws, bandsaws, or other equipment to perform meat cutting and trimming.
- Lift heavy weights: Lift heavy weights and apply ergonomic lifting techniques to avoid damaging the body.
- Tend meat processing production machines: Operate production equipment and tools to process meat and meat products.
- Apply requirements concerning manufacturing of food and beverages: Apply and follow national, international, and internal requirements quoted in standards, regulations and other specifications related with manufacturing of food and beverages.
- Apply GMP: Apply regulations regarding manufacture of food and food safety compliance. Employ food safety procedures based on Good Manufacturing Practices (GMP).
- Monitor temperature in manufacturing process of food and beverages: Monitor and control required temperatures in the different phases of production until the product reaches suitable properties according to specifications.
- Operate weighing machine: Work with a weighing machine to measure raw, half-finished and finished products.
- Work in cold environments: Work in cold storage and deep freeze facilities. Cooling rooms are around 0°C. Resist temperatures of -18°C in meat processing freezer facilities as required by law, except for the slaughterhouse, where room working temperatures are below 12°C by law.
- Handle knives for meat processing activities: Handle knives for meat processing activities. Use the correct knives and cutting instruments for meat preparations, prepared meat products, or meat products made by a butcher.
- Sort cut parts of carcasses inside cooling compartments: Place the different parts of the carcass resulting from deboning and cutting in cooling rooms. Sort the body parts and follow classifications codes according to the type of meat, part of the carcass, and other considerations in specified containers.
- Handle meat processing equipment in cooling rooms: Push and put carcasses in and out the cooling room as specified. Use equipment specific to this room to handle meat and meat products.
- Split animal carcasses: Separate animal carcasses and organs into larger subsections such as head and limbs, debone and cut them.
Optional knowledge and skills
This knowledge is sometimes, but not always, required for the role of meat cutter. However, mastering this knowledge allows you to have more opportunities for career development.
- Legislation about animal origin products: The applicable legal rules on temperature, waste materials, traceability, labelling, trading, and the transport of animal origin products.
- Food storage: The proper conditions and methods to store food to keep it from spoiling, taking into account humidity, light, temperature and other environmental factors.
Optional skills and competences
These skills and competences are sometimes, but not always, required for the role of meat cutter. However, mastering these skills and competences allows you to have more opportunities for career development.
- Provide first aid: Administer cardiopulmonary resuscitation or first aid in order to provide help to a sick or injured person until they receive more complete medical treatment.
- Manage challenging work conditions during food processing operations: Handle stressful and challenging work conditions in a limited time frame to ensure qualitative food and beverage products are created in time.
- Act reliably: Proceed in a way that one can be relied on or depended on.
- Slaughter livestock following cultural practices: Slaughter livestock complying with religious and cultural practices.
- Execute chilling processes to food products: Carry out chilling, freezing and cooling operation processes to food products such as fruit and vegetables, fish, meat, catering food. Prepare food products for extended periods of storage or half prepared food. Ensure safety and nutrition qualities of frozen goods and preserve products in accordance with specified temperatures.
- Liaise with colleagues: Liaise with fellow colleagues to ensure common understanding on work related affairs and agree on the necessary compromises the parties might need to face. Negotiate compromises between parties as to ensure that work in general run efficiently towards the achievement of the objectives.
- Adapt efficient food processing practices: Ensure to adapt the most efficient production techniques to accomplish food processing tasks with the least amount of time, effort and costs.
- Have computer literacy: Utilise computers, IT equipment and modern day technology in an efficient way.
- Consider economic criteria in decision making: Develop proposals and take appropriate decisions taking into account economic criteria.
- Dispose food waste: Dispose or collect food waste with the purpose of recycling or throwing away from the production process. Follow established procedures for their disposal taking care of the environment and the safety matters according to legislations.
- Operate metal contaminants detector: Control and monitor a detector that screens meat products for common metal contaminants such as screw, staples, or lead shot. Take appropriate actions in case of non conformities.
- Liaise with managers: Liaise with managers of other departments ensuring effective service and communication, i.e. sales, planning, purchasing, trading, distribution and technical.
- Ensure compliance with environmental legislation in food production: Make sure to comply with environmental legislation in food production. Understand the legislation related to environmental matters in food manufacturing and apply it in practice.
ISCO group and title
7511 – Butchers, fishmongers and related food preparers
- Meat cutter – ESCO