Classify meat or poultry carcasses

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


This standard is about the skills and knowledge you need to classify meat or poultry in food manufacture and/or supply operations. Classification, also known as grading in some areas of the sector, is essential to the determination of the quality of meat and poultry. It is also is important to determine the commercial value of meat and poultry. You will need to be able to prepare to carry out classification. You also need to show you can classify meat or poultry carcasses to organisational and regulatory requirements. This standard is for you if you work in food manufacture and/or supply operations and are involved in the classification of meat or poultry.

Performance criteria

You must be able to:

Prepare to classify meat or poultry

  1. source the classification specifications and organisational

    standard operating procedures

  2. wear and use personal protective equipment in accordance with

    regulatory standards and organisational requirements

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

    tools and equipment

  4. source meat or poultry that requires classification

    Classify meat or poultry

  5. classify the meat or poultry using correct classification


  6. maintain the correct rate of classification

  7. handle the carcass in a manner which maintains its quality and


  8. check the classified meat or poultry is clearly labelled with its

    classification or grade

  9. work within the limits of your responsibility and address problems

    to the relevant people

    Complete classification of red meat

  10. transfer the classified meat or poultry to the correct storage or

    further production area

  11. complete documentation following organisational procedures

  12. dispose of waste according to organisational procedures

Knowledge and Understanding

You need to know and understand:

  1. the purpose and role of meat hygiene inspectors in licensed

    primal meat or poultry processing facilities

    1. the factors determining the levels within each classification


    1. the importance of adhering to the classification systems

    2. why it is important to clearly and securely label the carcass after


    1. how carcass confirmation affects classification

    2. how carcass fat levels affect classification

    3. how sex and age affect classification

    4. how to determine the lean meat percentage of a pig carcass

    5. the importance of backfat thickness for pig carcass classification

    6. why carcass weight is important to classification

    7. the difference between hot and cold carcass weight

    8. the importance of identification using slap marks and ear tags

    9. why the dressing of the meat or poultry is important to


    1. the relevance of class A and B to poultry meat classification

    2. how conformation and appearance affect poultry meat


    1. the minimum standard to be achieved by grade A and B poultry

    2. the factors contributing to a whole bird being classified as


    1. the different styles of carcass dressing possible for meat or



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; Poultry; Classification; Grading; Food; Drink