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Meat, Poultry and Fish Cutter  What They Do

Just the Facts


Uses hand or hand tools to perform routine cutting and trimming of meat, poultry, and seafood.

This career is part of the Agriculture, Food and Natural Resources cluster Food Products and Processing Systems pathway.


A person in this career:

  • Uses knives, cleavers, meat saws, bandsaws, or other equipment to perform meat cutting and trimming.
  • Cleans, trims, slices, and sections carcasses for future processing.
  • Cuts and trims meat to prepare for packing.
  • Removes parts, such as skin, feathers, scales or bones, from carcass.
  • Inspects meat products for defects, bruises or blemishes and removes them along with any excess fat.
  • Produces hamburger meat and meat trimmings.
  • Processes primal parts into cuts that are ready for retail use.
  • Obtains and distributes specified meat or carcass.
  • Separates meats and byproducts into specified containers and seal containers.
  • Weighs meats and tags containers for weight and contents.

Working Conditions and Physical Demands

People who do this job report that:

  • You would often handle loads up to 20 lbs., sometimes up to 50 lbs. You might do a lot of lifting, carrying, pushing or pulling.
  • Work in this occupation involves use of protective items such as safety shoes, glasses, gloves, hearing protection, a hard hat, or personal flotation devices
  • Conditions are very hot (above 90 F) or very cold (under 32 F)
  • Work in this occupation involves using your hands to hold, control, and feel objects more than one-third of the time
  • Exposed to hazardous equipment such as saws, machinery, or vehicular traffic more than once a month
  • Exposed to hazardous situations involving possible injury such as cuts, bites, stings, and minor burns more than once a month
  • Work in this occupation requires being inside most of the time
  • Sound and noise levels are loud and distracting
  • Work in this occupation involves making repetitive motions more than one-third of the time
  • Work in this occupation involves standing more than one-third of the time
  • Work in this occupation involves walking or running more than one-third of the time

Working in this career involves (physical activities):

  • Seeing clearly up close
  • Speaking clearly enough to be able to be understood by others
  • Identifying and understanding the speech of another person

Work Hours and Travel

  • Regular working hours and limited travel

Specialty and Similar Careers

Careers that are more detailed or close to this career:

  • Boner, Meat -- Cuts bones from standard cuts of meat, such as chucks, hams, loins, plates, rounds, and shanks to prepare meat for packing and marketing, using knife and meat hook.
  • Butcher, Fish -- Butchers eviscerated frozen, fresh, and salted fish for marketing or further processing.
  • Carcass Splitter -- Performs a combination of tasks involved in dismembering and cutting up hog, veal, beef, and other animal carcasses to facilitate handling preparatory to marketing or further processing, using knife, cleavers, hand and power saws and other cutting tools.
  • Final-Dressing Cutter -- Cuts out defective portions of dressed animal carcasses, following established procedures.
  • Fish Cleaner -- Cleans fish aboard ship or ashore; performing a combination of tasks, alone or as a member of a crew.
  • Skinner -- Trims meat, glands, and organs from carcass heads for use in making meat products or processing for medicinal use or byproducts, performing a combination of tasks.
  • Trimmer, Meat -- Trims fat, skin, tendons, tissues, and ragged edges from meat cuts, such as loins, spareribs, butts, hams, rounds, sirloins, fillets, and chops, using meathook and knife.