Meat-Packing Plant

The following article is from The Great Soviet Encyclopedia (1979). It might be outdated or ideologically biased.

Meat-Packing Plant


an industrial enterprise at which livestock is slaughtered and meat and other products are processed to produce food for humans and animals, industrial goods, and medical preparations. Many meat-packing plants also slaughter poultry and rabbits and manufacture egg products. Meat-packing plants make maximum use of raw materials, produce a wide assortment of products, and are mechanized, using automation and sophisticated technology and upholding a high level of hygiene. In early 1973 there were 670 meat-packing plants in the USSR.

A meat-packing plant includes shops or units for holding livestock before slaughter (stockyards) and initial processing; for handling entrails and producing sausages, semifinished products, by-products, and fat products; for preserving hides; for manufacturing industrial goods; and for refrigeration. Many plants also have shops for processing poultry and rabbits, for canning, for the manufacture of horn and bone articles, and for the production of albumin, gelatin, glue, and medicinal preparations. In addition, a meat-packing plant usually includes various auxiliary services, such as a steam generator shop, a machine repair shop, a shop producing packages and containers, and a garage. In the USSR most meat-packing plants have capacities of 10, 30, 50, and 100 tons of meat per eight-hour shift. The largest plants, however, have much greater capacities. For example, the Moscow Meat-packing Plant can produce up to 1, 000 tons of meat a day, exclusive of about 400 tons of sausage goods and other products. Most meat-packing plants produce up to 1, 000 different goods.

At the meat-packing plant animals are prepared for slaughter. First they are stunned by electric shock. In the USSR the hide is removed mechanically using special assembly units. During subsequent operations, such as removal of the internal organs and cutting, the carcasses are suspended vertically and moved by conveyor. They are stamped and sent to the refrigeration unit for cooling and storage. If necessary, they are frozen. All other products of animal slaughter (raw fat, by-products, entrails, hides, blood, and endocrine glands, for example) are sent to other shops in the plant for processing. For processing byproducts and entrails the plants have continuous mechanized lines equipped with machines for scalding, singeing, cleaning, and washing. Special machines are used in the hide preservation shops, and continuous-operation rotating screw-conveyor drums are used to salt the hides. The highly productive modem equipment used in the meat-processing shops (sausages, canned meats, and semifinished products) includes artificial refrigeration units, conveyorized stripping of the meat from the bones, meat-grinding machines, and vacuum stuffing mixers; automatic devices for the manufacture of sausages, pel’meni (boiled meat-filled dumplings), and meat patties; and automatic units to measure portions for canning and record and regulate temperature during thermal treatment of products. Meat-packing plants produce many semifinished meat products and products packed in casings or coatings.


Foreign plants. In most foreign countries with well-developed meat industries, meat-packing plants are located in low buildings. For example, in the USA one-story plants are built to process 1, 250 cattle and up to 1, 000 hogs per shift. Primary and auxiliary shops are located in the same building. Slaughtering, initial processing, and dressing are done on conveyors, with the carcasses suspended vertically. Pigs are not skinned before processing. Low-temperature chambers and tunnels are used to chill and freeze the meat, accelerating the cooling process.

Most meat-packing plants have shops for the production of sausages and semifinished products. To a large degree, production is mechanized and automated in these shops. Mechanized flow lines, packing machines, and automatic devices are used extensively. Usually, the finished product is packaged. Various conveyor systems, rollers, electric carts, and electric loaders are used for transportation. A great deal of attention is paid to observing the rules of sanitation and personal hygiene.



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