Many people don't necessarily think about the process that occurs in order to get the food they buy, including meat products. Meat products go through a processing plant before ending up in grocery stores–and food processing plants are massive operations. They must meet specific safety and handling requirements set by the FDA and USDA and they require special processing plant equipment to function. Here is what you should know about these plants and the equipment that goes into them.
What is a Meat Processing Plant?
Meat processing plants, sometimes called slaughterhouses, are involved in slaughtering and processing animals into meat for consumption. They handle every step of the process, from intake to packaging for distribution. They have a long history, and the methods and equipment have fortunately evolved. Now, plants rely on special machinery to help make the processing easier, more efficient, and more sanitary.
Equipment Used in Meat Processing Plant
There is a lot of equipment inside a meat processing plant, and while it can vary in size and function, most of the equipment is made of food-safe stainless steel to ensure it is safe and sanitary. Some of the basic equipment in a meat processing plant includes:
1. Knives and Meat Saws
The most basic equipment commonly found in a meat processing plant are knives used to cut meat. Sharp knives are essential for a faster and safer process. If a knife is dull, a butcher may have to use more force to get the job done, which can result in serious injuries.
A meat saw is typically found in larger operations. These are large, stainless steel saws with a fine-toothed blade that can quickly butcher whole animals into smaller pieces.
2. Meat Grinders
Meat grinders are a popular type of meat processing plant equipment and help cut, mix, chop, or mincemeat into smaller pieces. Grinders create ground meat products that can be turned into patties, sausages, or sold as-is for consumers to use as they please.
Slicers are used for slicing meat products into various thicknesses. A slicer can create deli meat, bacon, steaks, pork chops, and more. It will create evenly-sized slices of whatever you desire at a rapid pace, and automated systems help ensure that employees stay safe.
4. Smoker Curing Ovens
A smoke curing oven is a piece of equipment used in a meat processing plant that isn't cheap, especially when buying a high-quality oven. Smokers allow the plant to create smoked and cured meat products, such as ham, bacon, and jerky.
5. Meatball, Patty, and Sausage Machines
In the past, plant employees had to form meatballs and meat patties by hand. Today, there are individual, specialized machines that can create these types of speciality products by the hundreds in just a matter of minutes.
There are also machines designed to stuff and tie sausage casings faster than the average human.
A processing plant can significantly increase its production time by pairing these types of speciality machines with industrial grinders.
6. Coolers and Freezers
Meat cannot stay at room temperature or it will spoil, which makes storing it at the correct temperature crucial. Coolers and freezers are basic equipment in a meat processing plant that is necessary, regardless of the size or type of meat products you make. They keep products at the appropriate temperature to prevent spoiling, which can result in the growth of harmful bacteria.
7. Meat Mixers
Meat mixers are used to mix meats and spices. These types of mixers are essential for mixing large batches of ground meats for meatballs, sausages, patties, and other prepared meat products.
8. Floor Drainage
Something that is often overlooked, but is a crucial piece of equipment in a meat processing plant, is a floor drain system. Drainage systems are vital to processing plants, as they help maintain a clean and sanitary processing area.
Systems like FoodSafe Drains keep wastewater and other fluids, like blood, off of the floor, in order to help the floors dry and minimize the risk of bacteria growth and contamination. Allowing the floors to dry also creates a safer work environment because workers will not have to worry about slipping on a slick surface.
FoodSafe Drains offers various options, with two of their most popular options being the 10,000 Series Slot Drain and Trench Drain systems, which are both made of highly durable, food-safe stainless steel.
Investing in the Right Equipment
Meat processing plants have come a long way by improving their techniques, equipment, and safety regulations. No matter what meat products you produce, you want to invest in the highest quality equipment to get the job done right. These are just some examples of the equipment used in a meat processing plant that you may want to invest in. Take the time to consider what your plant needs so that you do not spend unnecessary money, and research what company offers the best products.
When it comes to the best drainage solutions in the industry, FoodSafe Drains has you covered. Contact us today for the best drain solutions for your food facility.