Meatcutters and Meat Packers


Meatcutters and Meat Packers


Meatcutters cut animal carcasses into smaller portions and prepare meat, poultry, and fish for sale in food outlets or for cooking in hotels and restaurants. They work in slaughterhouses, food processing plants, and meat-packing plants. They also work in hotels, restaurants, and retail stores such as supermarkets and groceries that sell fresh meats, where they are referred to as butchers. There are approximately 135,500 butchers and meatcutters employed in the U.S.

Meatpacking workers slaughter, clean, cut, ...

Quick Facts


Median Salary



Employment Prospects



Minimum Education Level

High School Diploma



Apprenticeship or part-time experience useful





Personality Traits



Earnings for meatcutters vary according to location and whether or not they are members of a union. Union meatcutters generally earn higher salaries than workers who are not members of a union. Wages paid to salaried employees also vary widely depending on the size of the company and the region where a company is based. Meatcutters who work in urban areas are paid more than those in smaller cit...

Work Environment

Government health and safety standards require clean and sanitary work areas. The local board of health usually is in charge of inspecting food establishments and enforcing sanitation laws. Most meatcutters work in places that are comfortable, although handling and cutting carcasses is messy, and some workers must spend their entire shift in refrigerated areas.

Meatcutters and meatpackin...


Employment of slaughterers and meat packers is expected to grow slower than the average for all careers through 2028, according to the U.S. Department of Labor. The growing practice of central cutting—that is, the butchering and wrapping of meat in one location such as a meatpacking plant for distribution to other outlets is a trend that will effect employment for meatcutters. Central cutting i...