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Meat Processing Industry – The History and Basics

No matter how you look at it, the global meat industry has rapidly changed and has subsequently grown, so much so that it has supplied millions of tons of meat worldwide. Meatpacking involved a lot more than just the edible meat products, like drumsticks and steak, that consumers know and love. You read that right, majority of other inedible items offered by the meat processing and packing industry come from animal byproducts; these items include leather, essential ingredients behind quality cosmetics, animal feeds and glues. Therefore, numerous companies under the meatpacking and processing industry has employed thousands of employees from different countries in order to steadily keep up with the growing global demand.

Location of Production and Demand

Countries differ in a lot of aspects and that includes the rate of their export and consumption of meat products. Let take India for example, which has ranked high up on the list of largest meat exporter, despite the fact that cows are sacred in their country due to the majority being Hindu; the Hindu religion opposed the slaughtering of cows and thus the act is considered illegal. So instead of exporting meat from cows, India exports meat products that come from water buffalo; this is also called ‘carabeef.’ When talking about countries with the highest consumption and production of beef products, Brazil, the United States and a combined number of countries under the European Union would top the list. The country with the largest production and consumption of pork products would be China.

The Processes Involved

The meat’s quality depends heavily on the environment and conditions that the animal experienced during its life. A lot can be seen in the meat that comes out after the slaughtering process like the quality of its feed, stress levels and living conditions; these are just some of the factors that play a crucial role in the meat quality. An animal is stunned before it can be slaughtered; by stunning the animal, it will not feel any kind of pain, thus making it a crucial step in the process. Once the animal is slaughtered, the carcass is bled out through a slice in the throat. The process will vary depending on the animal and what kind of product will be made but basically, meatpackers remove skin, dirt, and hair from the carcass. Opening the carcass in order to remove most of the internal organs and to clean the insides can only be done by the meat packers if the blood, hair, dirt and skin is removed. Carcasses that have gone through the entire cleaning process need to be refrigerated for not less than 24 hours before it can be cut and separated into retail, consumption and wholesale items. Majority of the meat packing companies hire skilled employees to manually cut the meat instead of just loading it into a specialized machine. Companies do this because cutting meat is not as simple as it sounds since it involves numerous considerations like meat quality and bone depth.

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