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The pig slaughter process involves multiple stages, each crucial for ensuring meat quality, safety, and efficiency. This guide outlines the comprehensive steps from pre-slaughter inspection to deboning and meat cutting, incorporating the latest advancements in technology.

I. Pre-slaughter Inspection

Pre-slaughter inspection and management are essential for reducing meat contamination, preventing disease spread, improving meat quality, ensuring safety, and reducing production costs. Slaughterhouses should only accept healthy pigs. Veterinarians must carefully check the pigs’ health and categorize them into four groups: forbidden slaughter, emergency slaughter, delayed slaughter, and permitted slaughter.

II. Slaughter Management

  • Handling Qualified Pigs: Healthy pigs are driven to the holding pen, while disabled pigs go to the emergency slaughtering room, and sick pigs are treated harmlessly.
  • Fasting: Pigs should be fasted and given clean water for 12-24 hours to restore their normal physiological state.
  • Water Restriction: Stop giving water to pigs 3 hours before slaughter. Pigs should be showered to clean off dirt and enhance the stunning effect.
  • Raceway Management: Pigs are driven to the slaughter area via a raceway, designed in an inner-eight shape, ensuring smooth, one-way passage. Modern raceways often include anti-slip flooring and automated gates to reduce stress and injury.

III. Stunning

Stunning ensures humane slaughter and improves meat quality. Two common methods are:

Electric Shock Stun: Pigs are stunned instantly using a brain-heart stunning machine, making them temporarily unconscious. Newer machines ensure precise voltage and current control to improve efficiency and animal welfare.

Carbon Dioxide Stun: Pigs are exposed to 65%-75% carbon dioxide, causing them to enter a coma after 10-15 seconds. Advanced CO2 stunning systems include controlled atmosphere stunning (CAS), which gradually increases CO2 levels to reduce stress.

IV. Slaughter and Bloodletting

Stunned pigs must be slaughtered within 30 seconds. The methods include:

  • Horizontal Bleed: Pigs are slid into a horizontal bloodletting conveyor. Blood is collected in a tank, but not all blood is drained. Improved designs now incorporate angled surfaces to enhance blood drainage.
  • Hanging Bleed: Pigs are shackled and hung upside down for bloodletting. This method ensures thorough bleeding but may contaminate the blood. Innovations include sterile collection systems to reduce contamination.
  • Vacuum Knife Bleed: A hollow knife with an air extraction device collects blood in a closed container, ensuring hygiene. Modern systems are fully automated, improving precision and consistency.

V. Pig Washer

Pig washing equipment cleans dirt and blood from carcasses, reducing contamination. Advanced washers use high-pressure sprays and antimicrobial solutions to ensure thorough cleaning.

VI. Pig Scalding Tank

Scalding the carcass expands the pores for better hair removal. The carcasses are scalded in 58-62°C water for 6 minutes. Modern scalding tanks feature automated temperature controls and water filtration systems to maintain hygiene.

VII. Pig Dehairing Machine

Common dehairing machines include mechanical drum type and spiral type. Carcasses are automatically transferred from the scalding pool to the dehairing machine, which ensures no rib breakage, no damage to subcutaneous tissue, and at least 95% hair removal. Latest models have enhanced automation and sensors for optimal performance.

VIII. Rinse and Anus Seal

  • Rinse: Spray the carcass before processing to avoid contamination when opening the chest.
  • Anus Seal: Ligation of the rectum prevents contamination from excreta. New techniques involve automated sealing devices for better precision.

IX. Offal Removal

  • White Offal: Remove tripe, intestines, etc.
  • Red Offal: Remove heart, liver, lungs, etc.

X. Simultaneous Health Inspection

Workers place red and white offal on the quarantine conveyor to ensure each pig’s carcass corresponds with its offal. Unhealthy offal leads to the identification and handling of the corresponding carcass. Qualified offal is cleaned and processed. Modern systems use RFID tagging and barcoding for precise tracking and traceability.

XI. Splitting Saw

Used to split the pig carcass along the spine into halves. New splitting saws have improved safety features and automated alignment systems to ensure precise cuts.

XII. Rapid Cooling and Meat Ripening

  • Quick Freezer: The carcass is rapidly cooled to form an ice film. The surface temperature drops below 0°C within 1.5 to 2 hours. Latest freezers have energy-efficient designs and rapid air circulation for uniform cooling.
  • Chilling Room: The carcass is kept at 0-4°C for 14-20 hours to complete the curing process. Advanced chilling rooms include real-time temperature monitoring and humidity control for optimal meat quality.

XIII. Deboning and Meat Cutting

  • Primary Division: The carcass is divided into front legs, hind legs, and flanks.
  • Secondary Cutting: Depending on market demand, further cut into neck meat, front leg meat, large rib meat, hind leg meat, and other parts. Modern deboning lines use automated cutters and robotic systems to enhance precision and efficiency.

By following these steps and incorporating the latest technologies, slaughterhouses can ensure high-quality, safe, and efficiently processed pork products.

For more information, please contact us by email [email protected] or scan the QR code for our WhatsApp, located on the right.

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