Break down red meat carcasses

Business Sectors (Suites): Meat and Poultry Processing
Developed by: Improve
Approved on: 01 Jan 2019


This standard is about the skills and knowledge needed for you to breakdown a complete red meat carcass into sections that will require further processing. This includes carcasses of Beef, Lamb, Pork, Goat, Veal and Venison. This competence highlights the importance of making choices regarding the quality meat being cut and ensuring that care is taken to reduce damage to the meat. Knowing how to breakdown whole red meat carcasses is a key skill required by those working at an advanced level in the meat processing industry. This standard is for you if you work in food manufacture and/or supply operations and are involved in breaking down complete red meat carcasses.

Performance criteria

You must be able to:

Prepare work areas for the breakdown of red meat


  1. prepare to break down red meat carcasses in accordance with

    organisational standards

  2. wear and use personal protective equipment in accordance with

    regulatory standards and organisational requirements

  3. check the availability and cleanliness of work area, tools and


  4. check that the carcass is securely suspended

  5. source product specification for carcass breakdown

  6. agree plans for production with relevant personnel

  7. address problems within the limits of your responsibility

    Break carcass into separate cuts

  8. follow organisational specification for the range of cuts required

  9. check meat adheres to visual quality specification

  10. take effective action if the meat does not meet quality


  11. remove offal and store in accordance with organisational


  12. maintain quality of meat and poultry when handling

  13. identify and act upon opportunities to recover and utilise waste

  14. comply with health, safety, food safety and organisational


  15. present the completed product to the relevant personnel for


  16. store waste for disposal according to organisational requirements

    Check quality of products

  17. review the quality and quantity of product against specification

  18. report on the volume of product produced

  19. store the completed product in accordance with organisational


  20. provide advice and guidance on the appropriate packing,

    wrapping and storage for the product

Knowledge and Understanding

You need to know and understand:

  1. how to access organisational procedures

    1. the organisational and regulatory procedures that must be

    adhered to when breaking down red meat carcasses

    1. the personal protective equipment required when breaking down


    1. the tools and equipment needed to cut complete carcasses,

    including the range of hoists, saws, and knives

    1. why it is important to have hygienically clean personal protective

    equipment, work area, tools and equipment when breaking down


    1. how to access the organisational specifications for the specific

    primary cuts required

    1. why it is important to adhere to the specific meat product


    1. the importance of keeping waste to a minimum when breaking

    down carcasses, its effect on yield and potential loss of revenue

    1. how to check meat product yield against product specification

    2. why it is important to check for yield when producing meat


    1. the importance of carrying out quality checks against

    organisational specifications

    1. the different types of waste occurring as a result of producing

    primary cuts during carcass breakdown

    1. how waste products should be stored for disposal

    2. why it is important to work within the limits of your responsibility

    and report problems to the relevant people


Scope Performance

Scope Knowledge





Links To Other NOS

External Links

Version Number


Indicative Review Date

01 Jan 2024





Originating Organisation


Original URN


Relevant Occupations

Manufacturing Technologies, Plant and Machine Operatives, Process Operatives, Process, Plant and Machine Operatives

SOC Code



Meat; Carcass; Breakdown; Revenue; Food; Drink