Meat packing / meat processing / slaughterhouse management app

Meat packing app from FARMSOFT

Easy to use, complete business management for meat packing and processing businesses includes industry specific modules in the PREMIUM FARMSOFT solution.  Provided with full project management, training, and support solutions to delivery a fully tailored meat processing solution that matches your exact business requirements and delivers maximum efficiency, reduces waste, and provides automatic traceability.

  • Processing management: each team member can see where they are in the processing stage and rapidly record data for their tasks regardless of position in processing chain (weigh box, knock box, removal, evisceration, inspection, further processing, retain rail, scale, packaging, shipping and export)
  • Livestock inventory management
  • Schedule animals in lots for processing
  • Animal level traceability through the entire process
  • RFID validation points at your chosen stages during processing
  • Issue animal number and tags, or alternative RFID if original missing/damaged
  • Capture specialized data during each step (customizable based on your requirements)
  • Rapidly record and label all outputs (eg: animal sides, filet etc)
  • Easily mark an animal(s) for condemn, drag in, suspect, test, or government agency referral
  • Labels and documents in multi-language format for domestic and export purposes (EU, UK, JAPAN, SAUDI ARABIA, ORGANIC, INDONESIA etc...),
  • Manage the ageing process

Tired of using 20 year old software to run your meat packing business on old hardware?  (note we do NOT sell hardware)

  • You can  use ANY brand and model of modern fit for purpose equipment with farmsoft, we don't tell you what to buy.
  • Use any PC/Mac, tablet, cell with farmsoft: most stations have an inexpensive Android tablet (in washable sleeve) suspended above it on an arm for easy and rapid access, and a very low hardware cost (devices from $300)
  • Android ruggedized devices can read barcodes at distance (devices from $300)
  • Android ruggedized devices for RFID reading (devices from $400)
  • Use inexpensive RFID and barcode reading devices [USB] (from $100)
  • FARMSOFT runs in the cloud; you never need to install any software, update software; (optionally install on your own server, additional $4k)
  • Make changes to your hardware at any time without effecting farmsoft operations

Complete meat packing and meat processing business management. The app manages livestock deliveries, batch processing and meat packing, sales and distribution. Maintain high levels of traceability during the meat packing process.

Meat packing process: this is a sample process used by some of our meat packing clients in the USA and Australia, we will tailor the meat packing process in the app to match your specific meat packing requirements:

• Meat Sales Orders from customers are recorded in farmsoft.  Export:  Usually the Shipping container number (for meat export) is known well before meat packing, and can be entered onto the customer’s meat order and will carry through to the packed meat shipping process.

• PO’s issued for all raw materials (unprocessed animals) from farmsoft (animal and packaging supplies)

• Incoming meat deliveries reference the PO for rapid recording:

o A delivery receipt is printed / emailed to farmer/supplier immediately on delivery

o Each animal unit is weighed, associated to its animal reference ID/ traceability code, and assigned an inventory number by farmsoft to maximize meat traceability throughout the meat packing process

• Quality control

o Generic QC test performed on carcasses delivered.

o Reject / Accept carcass processes

• Meat Production & packing planning

o Meat Packing / Production manager uses Sales dashboard & Projections & Orders to view required production

o Batches are created and assigned to teams in specific meat cutting rooms and lines

o Alert is sent to team manager for new meat processing batches that associate the orders with the specific meat cuts that are required.

o Carcass is prepared, and packaged, and labelled with farmsoft labels (each unit is weighed)

o Fresh meat inventory created from this animal is associated to the batch which traces back to the specific carcass and supplier.

• Post meat packing QC

o QC check on packed meat product

• Logistics management for shipping packed meat:

o Shipping manager uses Logistic dashboard to group meat orders onto single trucks and set the loading order of packed meat for that truck

o Associate Transport company, truck/trailer registration

o Set shipping container info if not already on customers order

• Picking orders

o Users are told the location of specific/exact packed meat inventory that should be picked for each order

o Exporting meat products:  if these details were not already on the original order, they are recorded in this process:  Container number, Analog temp recorder, Digital temp recorder, seal number

o Documents (BOL, invoice, and export documents) generated and sent to various parties by admin or shipping manager.

• Pre shipping QC

o Depending on domestic/export, pre-shipping packed meat QC is performed

o Photos of packed container / truck are stored for insurance / quality purposes

• Admin

o PO’s (AP) and Invoices (AR) are exported and imported into clients Xero, Quickbooks, and other apps.

We will interview your team to custom design the meat packing & meat processing solution for your business.

Here's how your meat packing management project will work:

  • Interview with a solution consultant so we can understand how your meat packing business operates
  • We then prepare your meat packing forms and documents to be produced by the app and adjust special meat packing reporting tools you may need
  • A quick meeting to show you the settings in your app, and how to maintain them yourself in the future if you sell new meat products for example. We will have entered almost all of your settings for you.
  • Your consultant will then present you with proposed operational processes for your meat packing & processing processing business. This may happen a few times because we will respond to your feedback.
  • Your approved operational processes for your meat packing business will then be deployed one by one into your live business. We provide simple, written instructions you can show each team member so they don't need to remember anything or write anything down.
  • Review! Once you deploy the processes, we can have another review to see if there are any tweaks that would help improve your meat packing & handling processes.

The meat packing solution requires a requires a Precision training package, click here to order one now or talk to one of our consultants about your requirements.


The preparation of beef and pork for human consumption has always been closely tied to livestock raising, technological change, government regulation, and urban market demand. From the Civil War until the 1920s Chicago was the country's largest meatpacking center and the acknowledged headquarters of the industry.


Meat packing software
Meat packing software

Europeans brought cattle and hogs to North America, let them forage in the woods, and slaughtered them only as meat was needed. Commercial butchering began when population increased in the towns. Since beef was difficult to preserve, cattle were killed year round and the meat sold and consumed while still fresh. Hogs were killed only in cold weather. Their fat was rendered into lard and their flesh carved into hams, shoulders, and sides, which were covered with salt and packed in wooden barrels. Packers utilized hides, but blood, bones, and entrails usually went into the nearest body of running water. City government, understandably, tried to confine these operations to the outskirts of town.

Americans took their cattle and hogs over the Appalachians after the Revolutionary War, and the volume of livestock in the Ohio River Valley increased rapidly. Cincinnati packers took advantage of this development and shipped barreled pork and lard throughout the valley and down the Mississippi River. They devised better methods to cure pork and used lard components to make soap and candles. By 1840 Cincinnati led all other cities in pork processing and proclaimed itself Porkopolis.

Chicago won that title during the Civil War. It was able to do so because most Midwestern farmers also raised livestock, and railroads tied Chicago to its Midwestern hinterland and to the large urban markets on the East Coast. In addition, Union army contracts for processed pork and live cattle supported packinghouses on the branches of the Chicago River and the railroad stockyards which shipped cattle. To alleviate the problem of driving cattle and hogs through city streets, the leading packers and railroads incorporated the Union Stock Yard and Transit Company in 1865 and built an innovative facility south of the city limits. Accessible to all railroads serving Chicago, the huge stockyard received 3 million cattle and hogs in 1870 and 12 million just 20 years later.


Meat packing software
Meat packing software

Between the opening of the Union Stock Yard in 1865 and the end of the century, Chicago meatpackers transformed the industry. Pork packers such as Philip Armour built large plants west of the stockyards, developed ice-cooled rooms so they could pack year round, and introduced steam hoists to elevate carcasses and an overhead assembly line to move them. Gustavus Swift, who came to Chicago to ship cattle, developed a way to send fresh-chilled beef in ice-cooled railroad cars all the way to the East Coast. By 1900 this dressed beef trade was as important as pork packing, and mechanical refrigeration increased the efficiency of both pork and beef operations. Moreover, Chicago packers were preserving meat in tin cans, manufacturing an inexpensive butter substitute called oleomargarine, and, with the help of chemists, turning previously discarded parts of the animals into glue, fertilizer, glycerin, ammonia, and gelatin.

The extension of railroads and livestock raising to the Great Plains prompted the largest Chicago packing companies to build branch plants in Kansas City, Omaha, Sioux City, Wichita, Denver, Fort Worth, and elsewhere. To promote their dressed beef in eastern cities, they built branch sales offices and cold storage warehouses. When railroads balked at investing in refrigerator cars, they purchased their own and leased them to the railroads. Thus, Chicago's Big Three packers—Philip Armour, Gustavus Swift, and Nelson Morris—were in a position to influence livestock prices at one end of this complex industrial chain and the price of meat products at the other end. In 1900 the Chicago packinghouses employed 25,000 of the country's 68,000 packinghouse employees. The city's lead was narrower at the end of World War I, but Chicago was still, in Carl Sandburg's words, “Hog Butcher for the World.”


Meat packing software
Meat packing software

Government surveillance and regulation kept pace with the growth of the meatpacking industry. Even before Chicago annexed the Union Stock Yard and packinghouse district (Packingtown), city government tried to control smoke, odors, and waste disposal. Livestock raisers prevailed on state and federal government to investigate prices paid by the packers for cattle. At the behest of foreign governments, the U.S. Department of Agriculture started inspecting pork exports in the early 1890s. Upton Sinclair's sensational novel The Jungle (1906) led to the Meat Inspection Act, which put federal inspectors in all packinghouses whose products entered interstate or foreign commerce. Government inspectors began grading beef and pork in the 1920s; in 1967 Congress required states to perform the same inspection and grading duties in plants selling within state boundaries.

When the Armour, Swift, and Morris companies cooperated in a new National Packing Company and purchased some food-related firms, Charles Edward Russell warned about the existence of a “beef trust.” His book The Greatest Trust in the World (1905) caused the federal government to start antitrust proceedings. Although the courts failed to indict, the National Packing Company voluntarily dissolved in 1912. In the Packer Consent Decree of 1920, the Big Three agreed to sell their holdings in stockyards, food-related companies, cold-storage facilities, and the retail meat business.

The packers faced challenges from their employees. First organized by the Knights of Labor, packinghouse workers in Chicago struck for the eight-hour day in 1886, but public reaction to violence in Haymarket Square ended that strike. The Amalgamated Meat Cutters and Butcher Workmen of North America, an affiliate of the American Federation of Labor, made impressive gains in all the packing centers at the turn of the century. In the summer of 1904 this union led a long, bitter contest for wage increases. Some 50,000 packinghouse workers walked off their jobs. But in the end, only Jane Addams's intervention with J. Ogden Armour saved the strikers from total defeat. In response to renewed organizing during World War I and a demand for collective bargaining, President Woodrow Wilson established a federal arbitration process, and workers won temporary wage increases and the eight-hour day. When packers cut wages at the end of 1921, the Amalgamated called a strike which it soon rescinded. Thanks to the New Deal's pro-labor policies, Amalgamated membership revived in the 1930s and the Congress of Industrial Organizations launched a new packinghouse union. At the end of the decade, the large packing companies finally signed their first labor contracts. Postwar changes in the industry, however, minimized the impact of this victory.

Railroads centralized meatpacking in the latter half of the nineteenth century; trucks and highways decentralized it during the last half of the twentieth. Instead of selling mature animals to urban stockyards, livestock raisers sold young animals to commercial feedlots, and new packing plants arose in the vicinity. Unlike the compact, multistory buildings in Chicago, Kansas City, or Omaha, these new plants were sprawling one-story structures with power saws, mechanical knives, and the capacity to quick-freeze meat packaged in vacuum bags. Large refrigerator trucks carried the products over interstate highways to supermarkets. Many of the new plants were in states with right-to-work laws that hampered unionization. Business in the older railroad stockyards and city packinghouses declined sharply in the 1960s. Chicago's Union Stock Yard closed in 1970, the same year the Greyhound Corporation purchased Armour & Co.

At the end of the twentieth century, the meatpacking industry was widely dispersed but still under government regulation. Changing consumption patterns posed new challenges, as poultry and fish began to replace beef and pork in American diets.

The meat industry has come to be dominated by a handful of huge corporations that slaughter and process most of the country’s meat at large centralized facilities. The volume and speed of production demanded at meatpacking and slaughterhouses often make for dangerous and unsanitary conditions that can lead to worker injury and contaminated product. The US Department of Agriculture oversees the industry, but a lack of funding and lax enforcement of existing regulations means that often the industry is left to regulate itself.

What Is Meatpacking?

Meatpacking refers to the process of turning livestock into meat, including slaughter, processing, packaging and distribution. These days, the top meatpacking companies do not just produce meat, they also control how the animals are raised long before slaughter: in the chicken industry, companies oversee the process from chick genetics through supermarket packaging; in the beef industry, cattle come under the control of the big meatpackers four to six months before slaughter.

The ownership of all parts of the supply chain is called vertical integration. It gives integrators – the companies who have integrated all the different parts under one umbrella – control over price and quality; and the economies of scale they have achieved have helped to drive down the consumer prices of meat. Vertical integration has also allowed the meat industry to become highly consolidated, controlled by just a few companies: As of 2015, the four largest companies in each sector controlled 85 percent of the beef packing industry, 66 percent of pork packing, and 51 percent of broiler chicken processing. 1 The slaughter and packing plants these few companies run operate on a tremendous scale: in 2015, 85 percent of beef cattle slaughtered took place in just 30 US slaughter facilities (of the almost 650), with more than half slaughtered in 13 plants. These top 13 plants process more than one million animals per year, which is approximately 2,800 cattle/day, 365 days/year. 2

The Complicated History of Meatpacking

The history of the meatpacking industry closely traces the history of corporate power and consolidation in the US. Upton Sinclair’s famous 1906 exposé, The Jungle, revealed the horrific conditions of Chicago’s meatpacking plants at the turn of the last century, laying blame on the consolidated power of the packing companies. The novel helped to catalyze changes in the industry, including the Federal Meat Inspection Act and the Pure Food and Drug Act, which led to the creation of the Food and Drug Administration.

In the same period, antitrust laws aimed the stranglehold of big business in all sectors broke up most powerful players of the meat cartel. 3 Large-scale unionizing, along with the 1935 National Labor Relations Act, improved wages and working conditions at meatpacking plants; by the middle of the twentieth century, meatpacking jobs were considered skilled labor, and workers could expect to rise to the middle class. This period of opportunity didn’t last long, however, as companies began to move the packing facilities out of cities into rural areas, to be closer to the animal stock and to have more control over their workers. Transition to a production line, where workers performed the same task repeatedly, meant unskilled workers could be hired at lower wages. Consolidation began to rise again, such that today meatpacking is one of the most concentrated sectors of the economy; with consolidation, conditions at plants have worsened severely.


Meat packing software
Meat packing software


Workers in Slaughterhouses

The meatpacking industry, as a 2015 report by Oxfam America on poultry workers put it, “churns out a lot of chicken, but it also churns through a lot of human beings.” Oxfam estimates that from every dollar spent on a McDonald’s Chicken McNugget, just two cents goes to compensate the processing labor. 4 Conditions are generally the worst at poultry plants, which tend to have the least union representation. Some beef and pork slaughter plants are still unionized, and, according to United Food and Commercial Workers, union meatpackers make 15 percent higher wages than non-union.

The costs of working in slaughterhouses are not offset by the low pay; and worse, many workers sacrifice their bodies on the production line. With line speeds twice as fast as forty years ago, the stress of repetitive cutting motions can lead to serious injury. A 2013 Southern Poverty Law Center report found that nearly 75 percent of poultry workers described having some type of significant work-related injury or illness. 5 6 The US General Accounting Office (GAO) found in 2016 that while injury rates for meat and poultry processing workers have declined in recent years, they are (at 5.7 percent) still higher than in manufacturing, overall. 7 According to the Department of Labor, the incidence of occupational illness reported in the poultry industry is more than six times the average for all US industries. 8

Injuries from the cutting equipment, from falls on slippery floors and from exposure to chemicals and pathogens are common. Musculoskeletal disorders — injuries to the nerves, tendons and muscles — are especially prevalent. For example, the incidence of carpal tunnel syndrome in poultry processing is seven times higher than the national average. On a chicken processing line, a worker can repeat the same motion as many as 20,000 times in a day, which can lead to permanent damage in the hands, arms, shoulders or back. In some slaughterhouses, workers are not allowed regular bathroom breaks, which can lead to severe health consequences, as well.

Many workers in slaughterhouses are immigrants and have been threatened with deportation or firing if they speak up about unsafe working conditions, are injured on the job, seek medical treatment outside the company or complain about work-related health issues. 9

Food Safety

In 2015, USDA issued 150 recalls of contaminated meat products, covering 21.1 million pounds, including 5.1 million pounds for contamination by Listeria, Salmonella, and various forms of E. coli. 10 Meat and poultry were responsible for 2.1 million illnesses in the US in a ten-year period examined by Centers for Disease Control researchers — 22 percent of all foodborne illness. In 2014, Wolverine Packing Company recalled approximately 1.8 million pounds of ground beef products after 12 people were infected with an outbreak E. coli strains in four states. That same year, Tyson Foods recalled 33,840 pounds of mechanically separated chicken parts, some of which had infected nine people in a correctional facility in Tennessee with Salmonella. Baseline studies by the USDA’s Food Safety and Inspection Service found that 26.3 percent of raw chicken parts in the US tested positive for Salmonella and 21.4 percent for Campylobacter, two harmful bacteria. 11

Bacteria can enter the food supply if proper care is not taken in slaughter and processing. Fecal matter from animal intestines or animal hides can spread to tables, tools or to the meat itself. The high speeds of production lines in many processing plants, however, make it difficult for workers to take the necessary care to prevent contamination.

While rates of documented contamination are relatively low given the scale of total annual US meat production (48.5 billion pounds red meat and 40.5 billion pounds chilled and frozen chicken), even one instance of death caused by bacteria in the food supply is too many. Along with production line speeds, the centralization of slaughter and processing facilities is a major culprit in contamination outbreaks. Meat processed in one facility may end up in supermarkets or restaurants all over the country, making it difficult to trace the origin of the outbreak, and even harder to contain.

Federal Meatpacking Plant Regulations

The US Department of Agriculture (USDA) Food Safety and Inspection Service (FSIS) regulates the safety of meat and poultry. Meat sold in the US carries a USDA “Inspected and Passed” seal proving that government inspectors have verified only the effectiveness of the processor’s food safety systems, through the Hazard Analysis and Critical Control Program (HACCP), not, however, that they have inspected every piece of meat. 12

The HACCP system, introduced in 1996, modernized meat inspection and introduced testing for some bacteria that make people sick. It was a major advance; but critics, including internal government oversight agencies, point to significant shortcomings. Audits of the system by the Office of the Inspector General and Government Accountability Office have repeatedly shown that meatpacking plants fail to properly identify potential hazards (including commonly tested pathogens like shiga-toxin producing E. coli and Salmonella) in their HACCP plans, and that FSIS has no procedure in place for approval of plants’ plans; this enables recurring violations of the protocol, with little consequence or corrective action, as well as other problems. 13 The HACCP system allows many inspection tasks to be carried out by the meat companies themselves, and actually reduces the involvement of USDA inspectors. 14 Finally, the system does not allow USDA to shut down a meatpacking plant that, through testing, is shown to have high levels of bacterial contamination in its products. 15 As a result of the landmark case Supreme Beef vs USDA, the agency cannot rely on the results of its testing alone to determine whether a meat processing facility is unsanitary and therefore also cannot on its own shut violators down. 16

HACCP also impacts worker safety. A USDA rule, Modernization of Poultry Slaughter Inspection, finalized in 2014, had initially proposed an increase in production line speed from 140 to 175 birds per minute. The increase was rejected in the final rule, but there has been no subsequent rulemaking by the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) to further protect meat or poultry workers. According to a Southern Poverty Law Center’s report, OSHA “has no set of mandatory guidelines tailored to protect poultry processing workers. Workers cannot bring a lawsuit to prevent hazardous working conditions or even to respond to an employer’s retaliation, if they complain about safety hazards or other abusive working conditions.”


Meat packing software
Meat packing software


Corporate Meatpacking

Although consumer demand for local, sustainably-produced meats is growing, satisfying this demand is no easy task, in large part because decades of consolidation has wiped out the infrastructure needed to produce and market meat products from small farms. Small slaughter and processing operations have been closing across the country, because of industry consolidation, low profit margins, the complexities of federal regulation and the challenges of disposing of slaughter byproducts. Between 2000 and 2010, the number of slaughterhouses in the US declined by 15 percent. 17 The lack of smaller processing facilities poses a challenge (both logistical and financial) for small farmers, and it can be very hard for them to schedule an appointment in the few-day window when their animals are, for example, at peak condition; without alternatives, they have no choice but to pay the higher prices they are charged. Many small farmers point to processing costs as one of their biggest expenses.

Fortunately, there are many sustainable farmers and ranchers throughout the US that care about where their animals are processed – and in some areas, independent slaughterhouses and butchering facilities are slowly re-opening, including mobile slaughterhouses. The most successful of these efforts include an independent middleman or aggregator, who negotiates the relationship between farmer and buyer (a store, restaurant or institution) and coordinates the slaughter, processing and delivery of the meat. Because the aggregator is working with product from multiple farmers, it is easier for them to gain access to slaughter facilities and juggle buyers’ changing schedules than it is for a single farmer. For consumers, meat that goes through a local aggregator is often easier to find – it may be available in the supermarket or restaurants rather than just at a weekly farmers’ market, and it may be cheaper than buying direct from the farmer. The aggregator usually has a recognizable brand under which meat from all its farmers is sold. Firsthand Foods in North Carolina, Ranch Foods Direct in Colorado and Black River Meats in Vermont are a few thriving examples of this model; some of these are farmer cooperatives instead, such as Grass Roots Farmers’ Cooperative in Arkansas.

HACCP in the processing of fresh meat

C.O. Gill, in Improving the Safety of Fresh Meat, 2005

HACCP implementation: general principles

The classic approach to HACCP implementation is ineffective for controlling microbiological hazards in processes for raw meat production because knowledge of the microbiological effects of the individual operations in any process is generally lacking. Indeed, there is still often little or no knowledge of the microbiological effects of any of the processes performed at a packing plant. The microbiological methods which have been described in the previous section can be used to remedy that lack of knowledge. To do that, the stages of HACCP system construction must be expanded from seven to some 12 stages (Table 27-4).

Table 27-4. The actions required for constructing an effective HACCP system for controlling the microbiological contamination of meat during a meat packing plant process

1.Describe the process2.Establish consistent procedures for performance of the process3.Identify the microbiological characteristics of the process4.Establish the CCPsa5.Implement actions to improve hygienic performance at each CCP6.If appropriate, implement novel decontaminating operations7.Establish SOPsb for each operation8.Identify corrective actions for failure to maintain any SOP at a CCP9.Identify the microbiological characteristics of the improved process10.Establish microbiological criteria for process performance11.Establish a verification procedure12.Document the system

aCCP = critical control pointbSOP = standard operating procedure

The activities which occur at any but small meat packing plants are too numerous to comprehend in detail if they are viewed as all being elements of a single production process. Therefore, it is necessary to divide the activities into discrete processes which can be investigated sequentially. Activities are divided into processes as seems convenient with regard to plant layout, procedures, products and management practices. The only provisions are (Gill et al., 1996b):


every activity that occurs in the plant must be placed in a process, and


no activity may be placed in more than one process.

With such limited requirements there is no reason why the list of processes should be the same for all plants. For example, the skinning, eviscerating and trimming, washing and otherwise cleaning of beef carcass could be viewed as three processes of (i) skinning, (ii) eviscerating, and (iii) carcass cleaning, or as a single carcass dressing process. Despite that, processes are likely to be similarly defined at many plants because of broadly similar arrangements for processing and management of activities at most plants (Table 27-5). When deciding the list of processes, the HACCP team should identify the initial and final operations of each, and their relationships to one another, to ensure that no operation is overlooked and that none is duplicated in different processes. Each process must then be examined separately, to determine its microbiological effects upon the product and to control the microbiological contamination of the product occurring during the process.

Meat decontamination and pathogen stress adaptation

J. Samelis, in Improving the Safety of Fresh Meat, 2005

Potential impact of decontamination on the microbial ecology of meat plants

Carcass decontamination with chemicals may also alter the microbial ecology of meat packing plants in addition to shifting the spoilage flora of treated meat. Indeed, the fluid run-off and aerosol dispersion resulting from application of acid sprays may collect on equipment surfaces, which come into contact with meat. Conditions created on such wet surfaces may provide an environment favorable for the colonization and proliferation of bacteria present on the washed carcasses, leading to possible attachment and biofilm formation. Bacterial pathogens that become suspended in such decontamination waste fluids or settle in associated biofilms may become stress-adapted, cross-protected, resistant and, eventually, more virulent (Samelis and Sofos, 2003). Research data collected under real or simulated plant conditions are still insufficient to draw clear conclusions on these potential safety risks associated with fresh meat environments.

We have recently used meat decontamination run-off waste fluids of different pH (acidic, acid-diluted or non-acid-water spray-washings) as a model system to evaluate responses of pathogens under conditions simulating those in meat plant environments (Samelis et al., 2001a,b,c, 2002a,b, 2003b, 2004a,b; Stopforth et al., 2002, 2003a,b). Washings were inoculated with selected strains, such as the acid-resistant meat outbreak E. coli O157:H7 strain ATCC 43895 (Benjamin and Datta, 1995), to monitor survival, growth and biofilm formation under refrigeration or abusive temperatures. It was found that E. coli O157:H7 had greater potential than L. monocytogenes and S. Typhimurium DT104 for survival in 2% organic acid meat washings, especially when acetic acid rather than lactic acid was used and the washings were kept at 4 °C compared to 10 °C (Samelis et al., 2001a). More specifically, E. coli O157:H7 strain ATCC 43895 could survive in 2% lactic acid (pH 2.3–2.5) or 2% acetic acid (pH 3.0–3.2) meat washings for 2–7 days at 10 and 4 °C, while Salmonella and L. monocytogenes always died off faster and were undetectable after 7 days under the same experimental conditions (Samelis et al., 2001a). A later study (Samelis et al., 2002a) confirmed that, similar to fresh meat (Berry and Cutter, 2000), acid adaptation by the glucose method enhanced survival of E. coli O157:H7 in acid-containing washings stored at 4 or 10 °C. Acid-adapted populations survived with minimal reductions for up to 14 days in 2% acetic acid washings or in 2% lactic or acetic acid washings mixed with water washings at ratios of 1/1, 1/9 or 1/99 [vol/vol] (Samelis et al., 2002a). Under all conditions tested, declines increased as the acid concentration in the washings and the storage temperature increased, and were more dramatic in lactic than in acetic acid washings. Mixing of acidic with water washings was done to obtain run-off waste fluids (washing mixtures) with a sublethal pH, ranging from approximately 2.5 to 5.0, as may be the case in meat plants (Samelis et al., 2002a).

In non-acid (water) washings at 4 and 10 °C, E. coli O157:H7 survived, but the low storage temperatures, the vigorous growth (> 108 CFU/ml after 2–4 days) of the natural flora and the low nutrient availability in the washings synergistically inhibited its growth (Samelis et al., 2001a, 2002a). Interestingly, non-adapted E. coli O157:H7 showed greater potential for survival and a tendency to grow in water washings, compared to acid-adapted populations at 10 °C, suggesting that acid adaptation negatively influenced the pathogen's ability to readapt upon a sudden shift from its culture broth of approximate pH 5.0 to the higher pH of 6.5–7.5 of the meat washings (Samelis et al., 2002a). When the storage temperature of the washings was increased to 15 °C, the overall behavior of E. coli O157:H7 within treatments was unchanged. However, the higher storage temperature accelerated pathogen death in acidic washings, while in non-acid (water) washings it enhanced pathogen growth by approximately 2 log cycles, irrespective of previous acid adaptation (Stopforth et al., 2003a). Acid-containing meat washings with a pH below 4.0 suppressed growth of the predominant Pseudomonas-like natural flora, while being selective for growth of lactic acid bacteria and yeasts. This natural selection did not occur in acid-containing washings of pH ≥ 4.5, where the normal gram-negative flora could overcome the low acid stress and predominate, as they did in water washings (Samelis et al., 2002a, b).

Biofilm formation by L. monocytogenes and E. coli O157:H7 on stainless steel coupons immersed in fresh meat decontamination washings was also evaluated (Stopforth et al., 2002, 2003a). Cultures (107 cfu/ml) and coupons were exposed to washings without acid (water; approximate pH 7.0) or to acid-containing washings (lactic or acetic acid; pH range from 3.2–6.9) for 14 days at 15 °C. E. coli O157:H7 formed biofilms and remained detectable (> 1.3 log CFU/cm2) on stainless steel for up to 4 days in washings of pH 3.2 to 3.8, and persisted throughout storage in washings of pH 4.0–6.9. L. monocytogenes was unable to form detectable (< 1.3 log CFU/cm2) biofilms in acidic washings of pH 3.2–4.3; however, after 14 days of incubation in washings with a final pH of 4.4–6.9, the pathogen was able to attach at detectable levels (2.7–3.4 logs). In water meat washings, both pathogens formed biofilms of approximately 5.0 log CFU/cm2 (e.g., attachment was approximately 2 log cycles lower than pathogen populations in suspension), while the natural flora attached at 1–2 log cycles higher. Differences in biofilm formation between acid-adapted and non-adapted pathogens were not significant. The organic acid washings were selective for the growth of both lactic acid bacteria and yeasts, indicating that use of acids for carcass decontamination could modify the microbial ecology of processing plant environments (Stopforth et al., 2003a).

Meat Processing information

Market-leading software developed for the meat processing industry

Scheduling and controlling production, monitoring real-time performance, reviewing costs and margins. The everyday complexity faced by meat processors, whilst they ensure integrity is maintained across everything they produce.

But when margins are already slim in the meat industry, the choices they make for food processing software could be crucial to operational success.

The meat processing plant. carcasses of beef hang on hooks.

SI is renowned for our in-depth understanding of the meat processing sector, right down to the detail of planning and forecasting, cutting and boning, production and meeting customer expectations.

At SI, we’ve been producing world-class meat processing software, as part of our modular food ERP, to match the sectors’ needs for nearly three decades. Every day, we focus on finding solutions to meet your challenges through our people who’ve direct experience within the industry.

Whether it’s looking at how to improve the value chain, finding ways to reduce hanging stock and freezer costs, or reducing the opportunity to have to downgraded meat. SI’s clever meat processing software is helping our customers deliver efficiencies across their operations.

Struggling to manage carcass balance?

Developed to resolve the mystery of the “carcass balance” within red meat processing, our latest “Plan to Produce” and “Available to Sell” modules allow businesses to plan months ahead, whilst reacting in real-time to changing customer demands, raw material availability and key commercial challenges.

Our Plan to Produce and Available to Sell modular software have been developed with the most complex multi-site, vertically integrated meat processing businesses in mind. From kill, bone, retail pack through to value-added products operations.

We continually invest in product development for the meat processing industry. From abattoirs, carcass balance, boning and yield, through to retail pack and value-added products, we’ve developed applications for every operational process.

With SI’s modular food ERP at the heart of your meat processing operations:

  • Our skilled technicians will set up a solution to complement your current production. After all, if an ERP provider is expecting you to adapt your systems or processes to their system’s design, then the software is not a fit.
  • SI’s renowned food shop-floor data capture across your processes will ensure you always have full traceability.
  • Cost modelling software, that can even take into account the nuances of the cut-tree, projects your profitability. And our software helps you to understand which products you should produce, and even takes account of market fluctuations.
  • Define your KPIs and monitor against every stage of meat processing production. For example, our food software captures all the detail you need to monitor meat processing yield, giveaway and mass balance.
  • Read how pork processor Baird Food Services has made the most of SI’s controls and achieves >98.5% mass balance every day.
  • As your business grows and becomes more profitable, be assured that SI’s food ERP software can grow with it. When your operations are ready to step up to the next level of digital control, it’s straightforward to integrate our feature-rich modular food software.
  • Every business that processes meat strives for daily operational excellence and greater profitability.
  • SI’s modular food ERP, MES and sector software will connect every part of your operations – seamlessly.
“We wholeheartedly recommend SI. They understand our business, they understand our model, and they understand how the meat industry works. For us, it was an absolute no brainer that they should be our partner of choice.”DB Foods
Carcass management and every stage of meat processing can be managed with SI
Image of ribs of beef on shelves at catering butcher
image showing UK pork processing plant
image showing box of cut and trimmed pork at processing plant

While your business targets operational excellence, by implementing SI’s modular food ERP every part of your meat processing operations will be seamlessly connected. As many of our technicians have direct experience gained from working within the meat processing industry, we use this uniqueness to develop meat processing software that addresses the specific needs of the industry.

And, of course, we apply this knowledge to ensure that our food ERP software is compliant with and technical, legislative, regulatory and requirements for the meat industry.

Every business that processes meat strives for daily operational excellence and greater profitability.

SI’s modular food ERP, MES and sector software will connect every part of your operations – seamlessly.

Livestock slaughter procedures

The slaughter of livestock involves three distinct stages: preslaughter handling, stunning, and slaughtering. In the United States the humane treatment of animals during each of these stages is required by the Humane Slaughter Act.

basic slaughtering process; meat processing
basic slaughtering process; meat processingThe basic slaughtering process.Encyclopædia Britannica, Inc.

Preslaughter handling

Preslaughter handling is a major concern to the livestock industry, especially the pork industry. Stress applied to livestock before slaughter can lead to undesirable effects on the meat produced from these animals, including both PSE and DFD (see Postmortem quality problems). Preslaughter stress can be reduced by preventing the mixing of different groups of animals, by keeping livestock cool with adequate ventilation, and by avoiding overcrowding. Before slaughter, animals should be allowed access to water but held off feed for 12 to 24 hours to assure complete bleeding and ease of evisceration (the removal of internal organs).


As the slaughter process begins, livestock are restrained in a chute that limits physical movement of the animal. Once restrained, the animal is stunned to ensure a humane end with no pain. Stunning also results in decreased stress of the animal and superior meat quality.

The three most common methods of stunning are mechanical, electrical, and carbon dioxide (CO2) gas. The end result of each method is to render the animal unconscious. Mechanical stunning involves firing a bolt through the skull of the animal using a pneumatic device or pistol. Electrical stunning passes a current of electricity through the brain of the animal. CO2 stunning exposes the animal to a mixture of CO2 gas, which acts as an anesthetic.


After stunning, animals are usually suspended by a hind limb and moved down a conveyor line for the slaughter procedures. They are typically bled (a process called sticking or exsanguination) by the insertion of a knife into the thoracic cavity and severance of the carotid artery and jugular vein. This method allows for maximal blood removal from the body. At this point in the process, the slaughtering procedures begin to differ by species.


Hogs are usually stunned by electrical means or CO2 gas. Mechanical stunning is not generally used in hogs because it may cause serious quality problems in the meat, including blood splashing (small, visible hemorrhages in the muscle tissue) in the lean and PSE meat.

Hogs are one of the few domesticated livestock animals in which the skin is left on the carcass after the slaughter process. Therefore, after bleeding, the carcasses undergo an extensive cleaning procedure. First they are placed for about five minutes in a scalding tank of water that is between 57 and 63 °C (135 and 145 °F) in order to loosen hair and remove dirt and other material (called scurf) from the skin. The carcasses are then placed in a dehairing machine, which uses rubber paddles to remove the loosened hair. After dehairing, the carcasses are suspended from a rail with hooks placed through the gambrel tendons on the hind limbs, and any residual hair is shaved and singed off the skin.

An exception to this procedure occurs in certain specialized hog slaughter facilities, such as “whole hog” sausage slaughter plants. In whole hog sausage production all the skeletal meat is trimmed off the carcass, and therefore the carcass is routinely skinned following exsanguination.

After cleaning and dehairing, heads are removed and carcasses are opened by a straight cut in the centre of the belly to remove the viscera (the digestive system including liver, stomach, bladder, and intestines and the reproductive organs), pluck (thoracic contents including heart and lungs), kidneys, and associated fat (called leaf fat). The intestines are washed and cleaned to serve as natural casings for sausage products. The carcasses are then split down the centre of the backbone into two “sides,” which are placed in a cooler (called a “hot box”) for approximately 24 hours before fabrication into meat cuts.

Cattle, calves, and sheep

These animals are usually stunned mechanically, but some sheep slaughter facilities also use electrical stunning. The feet are removed from the carcasses before they are suspended by the Achilles tendon of a hind leg for exsanguination. The carcasses are then skinned with the aid of mechanical skinners called “hide pullers.” Sheep pelts are often removed by hand in a process called “fisting.” (In older operations, hides and pelts are removed by knife.) The hides (cattle and calves) or pelts (sheep) are usually preserved by salting so that they can be tanned for leather products. Heads are removed at the first cervical vertebra, called the atlas joint. Evisceration and splitting are similar to hog procedures, except that kidney, pelvic, and heart fat are typically left in beef carcasses for grading. Carcasses are then placed in a cooler for 24 hours (often 48 hours for beef) prior to fabrication into meat cuts.


By-products are the nonmeat materials collected during the slaughter process, commonly called offal. Variety meats include livers, brains, hearts, sweetbreads (thymus and pancreas), fries (testicles), kidneys, oxtails, tripe (stomach of cattle), and tongue. Bones and rendered meat are used as bone and meat meal in animal feeds and fertilizers. Gelatin, obtained from high-collagen products such as pork snouts, pork skin, and dried rendered bone, is used in confections, jellies, and pharmaceuticals. Intestines are used as sausage casings. Hormones and other pharmaceutical products such as insulin, heparin, and cortisone are obtained from various glands and tissues. Edible fats are used as lard (from hogs), tallow (from cattle), shortenings, and cooking oils. Inedible fats are used in soap and candle manufacturing and in various industrial grease formulations. Lanolin from sheep wool is used in cosmetics. Finally, hides and pelts are used in the manufacture of leather.

Meat inspection

Meat inspection is mandatory and has the mission of assuring wholesomeness, safety, and accurate labeling of the meat supply. Although inspection procedures vary from country to country, they are centred around the same basic principles and may be performed by government officials, veterinarians, or plant personnel. For example, in the United States meat inspection is administered through the Food Safety and Inspection Service of the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA-FSIS) and is composed of several distinct programs. In general, these programs are representative of the basic inspection procedures used throughout the world and include antemortem inspection, postmortem inspection, reinspection during processing, sanitation, facilities and equipment, labels and standards, compliance, pathology and epidemiology, residue monitoring and evaluation, federal-state relations, and foreign programs.

Antemortem and postmortem inspection

Antemortem inspection identifies animals not fit for human consumption. Here animals that are down, disabled, diseased, or dead (known as 4D animals) are removed from the food chain and labeled “condemned.” Other animals showing signs of being sick are labeled “suspect” and are segregated from healthy animals for more thorough inspection during processing procedures.

Postmortem inspection of the head, viscera, and carcasses helps to identify whole carcasses, individual parts, or organs that are not wholesome or safe for human consumption.

Reinspection during processing

Although previously inspected meat is used in the preparation of processed meat products, additional ingredients are added to processed meats. Reinspection during processing assures that only wholesome and safe ingredients are used in the manufacture of processed meat products (e.g., sausage and ham).


Sanitation is maintained at all meat-packing and processing facilities by mandatory inspection both before and during the production process. This includes floors, walls, ceilings, personnel, clothing, coolers, drains, equipment, and other items that come in contact with food products. In addition, all water used in the production process must be potable (reasonably free of contamination).

Facilities and equipment

Facilities and equipment are inspected to ensure that they meet safety requirements. Facilities must have sufficient cooling and lighting, and rails from which carcasses are suspended must be high enough to assure that the carcasses never come in contact with the floor. Equipment must be able to be properly cleaned and must not adversely affect the wholesomeness of the products.

Labels and standards

Labels and standards regulations assure that products are accurately labeled, that nutritional information meets requirements, and that special label claims (e.g., lean, light, natural) are accurate. Virtually all meat products must have the following components in their label: accurate product name, list of ingredients (in order of predominance), name and place of business of packer and manufacturer, net weight, inspection stamp and plant number, and handling instructions.


Compliance assures that proper criminal, administrative, and civil sanctions are carried out against violators of food inspection laws. These violations include the sale of uninspected meat, the use of inaccurate labels, and the contamination of products.

Pathology and epidemiology

Pathology and epidemiology programs support the efforts of meat inspectors by working with other public health agencies to minimize the risk from widespread food-poisoning outbreaks. These agencies work to identify the causative agents of food poisoning and prevent repeated occurrences by improving prevention techniques (e.g., proper handling and cooking and prevention of cross-contamination of raw and cooked products).

Residue monitoring and evaluation

Residue monitoring and evaluation programs identify animals containing harmful residues and remove them from the food chain. These residues include toxins from natural sources, from pesticides, from feeds, or from antibiotics administered to animals too soon before slaughter.

Meat grading

Meat grading segregates meat into different classes based on expected eating quality (e.g., appearance, tenderness, juiciness, and flavour) and expected yield of salable meat from a carcass. In contrast to meat-inspection procedures, meat-grading systems vary significantly throughout the world. These differences are due in large part to the fact that different countries have different meat quality standards. For example, in the United States cattle are raised primarily for the production of steaks and are fattened with high-quality grain feed in order to achieve a high amount of marbling throughout the muscles of the animal. High marbling levels are associated with meat cuts that are juicier, have more flavour, and are more tender. Therefore, greater marbling levels—and especially marbling that is finely textured and evenly distributed—improve the USDA quality grade (i.e., Prime, Choice, or Select) of the beef. However, in Australia cattle are raised primarily for the production of ground beef products, and the highest quality grades are given to the leanest cuts of meat.

Some of the characteristics of meat used to assess quality and assign grades include: conformation of the carcass; thickness of external fat; colour, texture, and firmness of the lean meat; colour and shape of the bones; level of marbling; flank streaking; and degree of leanness.

Retail meat cutting

In the American style of meat cutting, whole carcasses are usually fabricated into more manageable primal (major) or subprimal (minor) cuts at the packing plant. This preliminary fabrication eases meat merchandising by reducing variability within the cuts. Primal and subprimal cuts are usually packaged and sold to retailers that further fabricate them into the products that are seen in the retail case.

Hong Kong: meat vendor
Hong Kong: meat vendorMeat vendor in Hong Kong.© Wilfredo Rodríguez (A Britannica Publishing Partner)

Pork fabrication

Hogs are slaughtered at approximately 108 kilograms (240 pounds) and yield carcasses weighing approximately 76 kilograms (70 percent yield of live weight). Pork carcasses are usually divided into two sides before chilling, and each side is divided into four lean cuts plus other wholesale cuts. The four lean cuts are the ham, loin, Boston butt (Boston shoulder), and picnic shoulder.

cuts of pork
cuts of porkWholesale and retail cuts of pork.Encyclopædia Britannica, Inc.

Beef fabrication

Steers and heifers average 495 kilograms at slaughter and produce carcasses weighing 315 kilograms (63 percent yield of live weight). Beef carcasses are split into two sides on the slaughter floor. After chilling, each side is divided into quarters, the forequarter and hindquarter, between the 12th and 13th ribs. The major wholesale cuts fabricated from the forequarter are the chuck, brisket, foreshank, rib, and shortplate. The hindquarter produces the short loin, sirloin, rump, round, and flank.

cuts of beef; meat processing
cuts of beef; meat processingWholesale and retail cuts of beef.Encyclopædia Britannica, Inc.

Lamb fabrication

Live sheep averaging 45 kilograms yield 22-kilogram carcasses (50 percent yield of live weight). Lamb carcasses are divided into two halves, the foresaddle and hindsaddle, on the fabrication floor. The foresaddle produces the major wholesale cuts of the neck, shoulder, rib, breast, and foreshank. The hindsaddle produces the major wholesale cuts of the loin, sirloin, leg, and hindshank.

cuts of lamb; meat processing
cuts of lamb; meat processingWholesale and retail cuts of lamb.Encyclopædia Britannica, Inc.

Low initial investment and maintenance cost on equipment

Meatsys works on any device or operating system that simply have a recent web browser. It does not consume much system resources, and it is built with high stability. If you already have an installed system, Meatsys allows you to continue with your old system; that means, you do not need to pay for any operating system license or upgrades on the equipment. With some simple additions, you can turn your old system into Industry4.0 ready system with Meatsys.

Never stops production due to IT equipment failures

With Meatsys, you can replace nonfunctioning devices safely within a few minutes; or probably use the administration interface to push the operation forward to a nearby device without having to interrupt the entire production process.

Time is money, and we understand that device dependent systems could pose a threat to the entire production process. For this reason, we've designed a system which makes changing a label printer, computer, weighing scale or forwarding the operation to a nearby device on factory floor promptly. In fact, a simple tablet device can act in place of an advanced factory floor computer instantly.

Packing & Processing Software

Emydex’s Packing & Processing Software is currently operating in over 80 boning halls, filleting rooms and cutting plants operated by leading Meat, Fish and Food processors around the world including Ireland, the UK, mainland Europe, Africa, Australia & North America.

Having first gone live in 2006 in one of Ireland's largest beef and lamb processors Kepak Clonee, today our Packing & Processing software system is in daily operation in numerous Emydex client sites.

Packing & Processing

Benefits of our System

Flexible packing configurations
Pack to stock
Pack direct to sales orders
Palletize direct from packing
Reduce labor & increase efficiency with Automatic Case Labelling
Flexible “what you see is what you get” Label Designing software
Real-time packing reports and dashboards
Integrate to multiple scales and/or printers
Weigh Price Label Integration (Bizerba & Espera)
Capture outputs for Yield Reporting

Packing & Processing

System Features

Case Labelling

The Emydex case Labelling functionality is able to pack in many ways to suit your needs, choose to pack to sales orders, direct to pallets or direct to stocks. Configure different terminals in the factory to work differently as required.

Pack Labelling

The Emydex pack Labelling functionality allows customers to weigh individual packs of meat and apply labels. These packs can be allocated directly to a case to create stock.

Bulk Label Printing

The Emydex bulk label printing allows customers to print batches of case or pack/insert labels. This removes the need for other 3rd party printing applications to print labels and also reduces human error as all information is fed from Emydex.

Rework Processing

The Emydex rework processing allows customers to maintain traceability of reworked product and measure yields for this process.

Label Designer

Emydex use world-class label design and printing software – Nice label. The nice label software is fully embedded within the Emydex application which means end users can complete all label design tasks without leaving the Emydex application. Labels can be managed at a site level or using the Enterprise management system.

Automatic Case Labelling

Emydex system is able to integrate to automatic case Labelling machines to reduce labor and prevent operator error. Emydex can cater for different Automatic case labelling setups.

WPL Integration

Emydex system is able to integrate to weigh price Labelling machines to start and stop production jobs, including sending batch numbers, order quantities etc. Emydex is also able to control master data such as descriptions, allergens, dates, labels as well as receive processing statistics such as reject rates, efficiency etc. meaning customers can complete all production reporting in one system.

Designed for your industry

Our software modules

The Emydex suite of software includes a collection of independent standalone software modules designed to manage and control a particular stage of the Food Production Process e.g. Kill Line & Payments.

Each modules sits on top of the core platform, and can plug seamlessly into any other module. The full suite of modules cover all aspects of Food production from factory door-to-door.

Do it your way:

With the easy to use drag-and-drop user interface, Meatsys, allows you to create your personal processing stations and warehouses, design your own labels, connect your devices, set up your own recipe, your own protocols, etc. It's not compulsory you use the company's initial software setup. You are able to change the settings or add new production stations, warehouses, and devices, as it suits you for your emerging needs and opportunities. And if you wish we are also ready to perform these tasks for you.

Fully scalable system that adapts to any size and type of facility. All its modules cover all sizes of operation successfully. You only pay the modules and functionality you need. When you need to grow and add new modules, simply a license number will be given to you so that you can start using the new modules in no time.

meat packing app
Meat packing app

INDUSTRY 4.0 Ready

Meatsys was designed to get the all the available data from the factory floor automatically. We use barcode and RFID tags to identify the product, people, and devices. Including hooks, carts, crates and dollies. The system is also capable of integration with the sensors placed on the production spaces or storage rooms, which enables our customers to track the conditions of a products production process. All the carcasses passing through the weighing stations can be identified, and weight information can be sent to the database with the ID number of the carcass and time stamp. Also entering a processing station or exiting from a storage room is recorded with the ID of the hook. By reading the RFID tag on the hook.

Automation is another capability of the system; For example, If you already have an automated rail routing system in your factory, Meatsys can send the routing commands to the routers on the rails and forward the carcass hanging on the hook directly to the desired storage or processing room.

It’s got full equipment integration support

Meatsys supports different model and brand name of the scales, printers, and barcode scanners. However, if your equipment is not supported, we can integrate your device into Meatsys within the matter of a few hours.

Meatsys works with ERP Integrations

Meatsys is very simple and advanced; it can easily be integrated with any ERP, accounting or sales and distribution software in a few days, irrespective of the kind of system you use. We can also provide XML data for other systems that you may wish to integrate Meatsys into.

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  • Animal Receiving
  • Lairage management
  • Live weighing
  • RFID integration
  • Ante-mortem inspection
  • Carcass receiving
  • Carcass weighing and labeling
  • Raw material receiving

The function of the Procurement module is receiving the live animal, carcass or raw materials. The system, through the XML web services integration module, is also able to get all the traceability data from Farm Management Systems and Government Animal Identification Databases.

Automated animal weighing and RFID integration are ready for most of the popular brands of scales and readers. But if necessary, we can make add a new device in no time.

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  • RFID identification on the entry
  • Post-mortem inspections
  • Full individual traceability
  • Splitting and quartering
  • Weighing stations integration
  • Grading Labeling
  • Yields and efficiency analysis

With the animal entry, all production data is captured throughout the whole process. Automatic identification of the entering animal enables system sequencing the carcasses.

All products not excluding, offal and leather are recorded, labeled and included in the traceability data. With post-mortem examination and the grading module, product quality is ensured. Human errors are eliminated through the production process with the automated data capture, and yields can be calculated and recorded along the desired number of weighing stations.

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  • Carcass receiving
  • Carcass weighing
  • Individual or lot based traceability
  • Product labeling
  • Weighing stations integration
  • Yields and efficiency analysis

Deboning hall is the busiest parts of the processing stage. As a result, all activities must be recorded and tracked through the processing line. Meatsys will help you to record all the performance indicators through the deboning and trimming process; including the operator’s performance.

Either individual or lot based product traceability can be used based on the system setup. Recorded values of all the environmental conditions, such as temperature and humidity, are also bounded with the final products.

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  • Raw material receiving
  • Weighing scales integration
  • Spice and raw material management
  • Premixing (portioning and labeling)
  • Product recipe management

Meatsys’ further processing module is responsible for recipe formulation, recipe versioning, recipe tracking, ingredient traceability; batch based product traceability, premixed and portioned ingredient management. During the production, all the data is captured and recorded automatically eliminating human errors.

Further Processing module is also suitable for food, infant formulas and candy manufacturers.

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  • Shrinking & Vacuuming
  • Packing & Boxing
  • Palletizing
  • Weighing
  • Labeling

Finished or semi-finished products are packed and labeled for storage or dispatch purposes. You can integrate Meatsys with any packing line or use it as a stand-alone packing system, as it might be needed.

Meatsys has state-of-the-art management console; you can create a number of packing and labeling stations with a different setup and configuration very quickly.

You can design your labels with your preferred barcode designing software and add to the system. All of the traceability data could also be carried up to the products on the pallet barcode.

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  • Transferring and receiving records
  • Automated inventory reports
  • Sales order picking
  • Container loading

The modular and parametric architecture of Meatsys allows you to create and integrate as many warehouses, cold storage units as you want. You can also determine the transferring and product acceptance rules for each warehouse separately. With its user-friendly interface and optional automatic RFID data capturing systems, inventory information given by Meatsys is always accurate and reliable.

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  • RFID embedded hooks, dollies, carts & crates
  • Rail readers
  • Stationary and mobile readers
  • Paperless carcas tracking
  • Automated inventory tracking
  • Automated weighing
  • Automated rail routing management

Meatsys has been uniquely designed to collect data automatically from every available point on the production line. High-powered reader systems are used on the carcass rails, transfer stations, weighing stations and every possible place where data can be collected automatically. Best RFID tags were chosen for the equipment to be identified. We can either install the readers and transponders for new construction or retrofit for the system you already have.

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  • Individual carcass and primal traceability
  • Batch traceability of further processing products
  • Raw material traceability
  • Premix traceability
  • Environmental conditions traceability
  • Stationary and mobile Readers
  • Paperless carcas tracking
  • Instant traceability reporting
  • Mobile scanning app for customers

Traceability is one of the most vital aspects of food processing business. Whether you need basic age and source traceability or full traceability which includes ingredients, process, people, time, temperature and all that is involved in the production process, Meatsys is capable of providing traceability data at any level

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  • Windows or Android based devices.
  • Integrated barcode and RFID readers.
  • Mobile modules for all operations.

Mobile computers with RFID and barcode readers can be integrated with Meatsys for higher mobility. All the mobile modules are capable of getting data directly from the integrated weighing scales and RFID readers to be used in every step where needed. Also, devices can be easily configured to use barcode printers or other output devices in any station.

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  • Sanitation records
  • Personel tracking
  • Environmental conditions tracking

Daily cleaning and sanitation records are included in the system for compliance with the laws and regulations. Personnel entrance, exit and movement records are collected from entrance and exit gates with boot RFID readers and real time tracking devices.

Veal fabrication

Veal is classified into several categories based on the ages of the animals at the time of slaughter. Baby veal (bob veal) is 2–3 days to 1 month of age and yields carcasses weighing 9 to 27 kilograms. Vealers are 4 to 12 weeks of age with carcasses weighing 36 to 68 kilograms. Calves are up to 20 weeks of age with carcasses ranging from 56 to 135 kilograms.

After slaughter, veal carcasses are split on the fabrication floor into two halves, the foresaddle and hindsaddle. The foresaddle produces the major wholesale cuts of the shoulder, rib, breast, and shank. The hindsaddle produces the major wholesale cuts of the loin, sirloin, and round.

cuts of veal; meat processing
cuts of veal; meat processingWholesale and retail cuts of veal.Encyclopædia Britannica, Inc.

Meat cookery

The physical changes associated with cooking meat are caused by the effects of heat on connective tissue and muscle proteins.

Colour changes

Know the science that takes place while grilling meat
Know the science that takes place while grilling meatLearn about the science of grilling meat.© American Chemical Society (A Britannica Publishing Partner)See all videos for this article

In beef, changes in cooking temperatures ranging from 54 °C or 130 °F (very rare) to 82 °C or 180 °F (very well done) correspond to changes in colour from deep red or purple to pale gray. These colour changes are a result of the denaturation of the myoglobin in meat. Denaturation is the physical unfolding of proteins in response to such influences as extreme heat. The denaturation of myoglobin makes the protein unable to bind oxygen, causing the colour to change from the bright cherry red of oxymyoglobin to the brown of denatured myoglobin (equivalent to metmyoglobin).

Structural changes

Hear about the experimental findings on meat tenderness, muscle cell shrinkage, and loss of water while cooking meat
Hear about the experimental findings on meat tenderness, muscle cell shrinkage, and loss of water while cooking meatLearn about experimental findings of muscle cell shrinkage during the cooking of meat.© University of Melbourne, Victoria, Australia (A Britannica Publishing Partner)See all videos for this article

The colour changes during cooking correspond to structural changes taking place in the meat. These structural changes are due to the effects of heat on collagen (connective tissue protein) and actin and myosin (myofibrillar proteins). In the temperature range between 50 and 71 °C (122 to 160 °F) connective tissue in the meat begins to shrink. Further heating to temperatures above 71 °C causes the complete denaturation of collagen into a gelatin-like consistency. Therefore, tough meats with relatively high amounts of connective tissues can be slowly cooked under moist conditions to internal temperatures above 71 °C and made tender by gelatinization of the collagen within the meat, while at the same time maintaining juiciness.

The myofibrillar proteins also experience major changes during cooking. In the range of 40 to 50 °C (104 to 122 °F) actin and myosin begin to lose solubility as heat denaturation begins. At temperatures of 66° to 77 °C (150 to 170 °F) the myofibrillar proteins begin to shorten and toughen. Beyond 77 °C (170 °F) proteins begin to lose structural integrity (i.e., they are completely denatured) and tenderness begins to improve.

The effects of heat on both connective tissue and myofibrillar proteins must be balanced in order to achieve maximum tenderness during cooking. Meats with low amounts of connective tissue are most tender when served closer to medium rare or rare so that muscle proteins are not hardened. Conversely, meats with heavy amounts of connective tissue require slow cooking closer to well done in order to achieve collagen gelatinization.

Meat microbiology, safety, and storage

When the conversion of muscle to meat begins, biological degradation of meat also commences. In the absence of a living immune system, microorganisms are unchecked in their ability to grow and reproduce on meat surfaces.

Food-borne microorganisms

Generally, food-borne microorganisms can be classified as either food-spoilage or food-poisoning, with each presenting unique characteristics and challenges to meat product safety and quality.

Food-spoilage microorganisms

These organisms are responsible for detrimental quality changes in meat. The changes include discoloration, unpleasant odours, and physical alterations. The principal spoilage organisms are molds and bacteria.

Molds usually appear dry and fuzzy and are white or green in colour. They can impart a musty flavour to meat. Common molds in meat include the genera Cladosporium, Mucor, and Alternaria. Slime molds produce a soft, creamy material on the surface of meat.

Common spoilage bacteria include Pseudomonas, Acinetobacter, and Moraxella. Under anaerobic conditions, such as in canned meats, spoilage can include souring, putrefaction, and gas production. This is a result of anaerobic decomposition of proteins by the bacteria.

Food-poisoning microorganisms

Food-poisoning microorganisms can cause health problems by either intoxication or infection. Intoxication occurs when food-poisoning microorganisms produce a toxin that triggers sickness when ingested. Several different kinds of toxins are produced by the various microorganisms. These toxins usually affect the cells lining the intestinal wall, causing vomiting and diarrhea. Microorganisms capable of causing food-poisoning intoxication include Clostridium perfringens (found in temperature-abused cooked meats—i.e., meats that have not been stored, cooked, or reheated at the appropriate temperatures), Staphylococcus aureus (found in cured meats), and Clostridium botulinum (found in canned meats).

Staphylococcus aureus; food poisoning
Staphylococcus aureus; food poisoningGram-positive Staphylococcus aureus, from a laboratory culture.A.W. Rakosy/Encyclopædia Britannica, Inc.

Infection occurs when an organism is ingested by the host, then grows inside the host and causes acute sickness and, in extreme cases, death. Common infectious bacteria capable of causing food poisoning in undercooked or contaminated meats are Salmonella, Escherichia coli, Campylobacter jejuni, and Listeria monocytogenes.

Prevention of microbial contamination

The initial microorganism load can be the most significant factor affecting the contamination of meat. If meat is never exposed to pathogenic microorganisms (those capable of causing human sickness), then there is no opportunity for food-borne illnesses to occur.

Several meat-processing plants have begun to utilize a program called the Hazard Analysis and Critical Control Point (HACCP) system to reduce pathogenic contamination. This program identifies the steps in the conversion of livestock to human food where the product is at risk of contamination by microorganisms. Once identified, these points, known as critical control points, are examined to determine how to eliminate the risk of microbial contamination.

Preservation and storage

Meat preservation helps to control spoilage by inhibiting the growth of microorganisms, slowing enzymatic activity, and preventing the oxidation of fatty acids that promote rancidity. There are many factors affecting the length of time meat products can be stored while maintaining product safety and quality. The physical state of meat plays a role in the number of microorganisms that can grow on meat. For example, grinding meat increases the surface area, releases moisture and nutrients from the muscle fibres, and distributes surface microorganisms throughout the meat. Chemical properties of meat, such as pH and moisture content, affect the ability of microorganisms to grow on meat. Natural protective tissues (fat or skin) can prevent microbial contamination, dehydration, or other detrimental changes. Covering meats with paper or protective plastic films prevents excessive moisture loss and microbial contamination.

Cold storage

Temperature is the most important factor influencing bacterial growth. Pathogenic bacteria do not grow well in temperatures under 3 °C (38 °F). Therefore, meat should be stored at temperatures that are as cold as possible. Refrigerated storage is the most common method of meat preservation. The typical refrigerated storage life for fresh meats is 5 to 7 days.

Freezer storage is an excellent method of meat preservation. It is important to wrap frozen meats closely in packaging that limits air contact with the meat in order to prevent moisture loss during storage. The length of time meats are held at frozen storage also determines product quality. Under typical freezer storage of −18 °C (0 °F) beef can be stored for 6 to 12 months, lamb for 6 to 9 months, pork for 6 months, and sausage products for 2 months.


The rate of freezing is very important in maintaining meat quality. Rapid freezing is superior; if meats are frozen slowly, large ice crystals form in the meat and rupture cell membranes. When this meat is thawed, much of the original moisture found in the meat is lost as purge (juices that flow from the meat). For this reason cryogenic freezing (the use of supercold substances such as liquid nitrogen) or other rapid methods of freezing meats are used at the commercial level to maintain maximal product quality. It is important to note, however, that freezing does not kill most microorganisms; they simply become dormant. When the meat is thawed, the spoilage continues where it left off.

Thawing meats often can cause more detrimental quality changes than freezing. In contrast to freezing, thawing should be a slow process. Meats are best thawed in the refrigerator with packaging left intact, so that moisture loss is minimized. Placing frozen meats out on a warm countertop or under warm water subjects the meat’s outer layers to room temperatures for long periods of time before the meat is ready for cooking (completely thawed). This rapid method provides a conducive environment for the growth of food-borne microorganisms and increases the risk of food poisoning.

Vacuum packaging

Oxygen is required for many bacteria to grow. For this reason most meats are vacuum-packaged, which extends the storage life under refrigerated conditions to approximately 100 days. In addition, vacuum packaging minimizes the oxidation of unsaturated fatty acids and slows the development of rancid meat.


The second most common method of meat preservation is canning. Canning involves sealing meat in a container and then heating it to destroy all microorganisms capable of food spoilage. Under normal conditions canned products can safely be stored at room temperature indefinitely. However, certain quality concerns can compel processors or vendors to recommend an optimal “sell by” date.


Drying is another common method of meat preservation. Drying removes moisture from meat products so that microorganisms cannot grow. Dry sausages, freeze-dried meats, and jerky products are all examples of dried meats capable of being stored at room temperature without rapid spoilage.


One ancient form of food preservation used in the meat industry is fermentation. Fermentation involves the addition of certain harmless bacteria to meat. These fermenting bacteria produce acid as they grow, lowering the pH of the meat and inhibiting the growth of many pathogenic microorganisms.


Irradiation, or radurization, is a pasteurization method accomplished by exposing meat to doses of radiation. Radurization is as effective as heat pasteurization in killing food-spoilage microorganisms. Irradiation of meat is accomplished by exposing meat to high-energy ionizing radiation produced either by electron accelerators or by exposure to gamma-radiation-emitting substances such as cobalt-60 or cesium-137. Irradiated products are virtually identical in character to nonirradiated products, but they have significantly lower microbial contamination. Irradiated fresh meat products still require refrigeration and packaging to prevent spoilage, but the refrigerated storage life of these products is greatly extended.

Curing and smoking

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Meat curing and smoking are two of the oldest methods of meat preservation. They not only improve the safety and shelf life of meat products but also enhance the colour and flavour. Smoking of meat decreases the available moisture on the surface of meat products, preventing microbial growth and spoilage. Meat curing, as commonly performed in products such as ham or sausage, involves the addition of mixtures containing salt, nitrite, and other preservatives.

Salt decreases the moisture in meats available to spoilage microorganisms. Nitrite prevents microorganisms from growing and retards rancidity in meats. Nitrite also produces the pink colour associated with cured products by binding (as nitric oxide) to myoglobin. However, the use of nitrite in meat products is controversial owing to its potential cancer-causing activity.

Sodium erythorbate or ascorbate is another common curing additive. It not only decreases the risks associated with the use of nitrite but also improves cured meat colour development. Other common additives include alkaline phosphates, which improve the juiciness of meat products by increasing their water-holding ability.