Meat packing industry
Overview
 
The meat packing industry handles the slaughtering, processing
Food processing
Food processing is the set of methods and techniques used to transform raw ingredients into food or to transform food into other forms for consumption by humans or animals either in the home or by the food processing industry...

, packaging, and distribution
Distribution (business)
Product distribution is one of the four elements of the marketing mix. An organization or set of organizations involved in the process of making a product or service available for use or consumption by a consumer or business user.The other three parts of the marketing mix are product, pricing,...

 of animals such as cattle
Cattle
Cattle are the most common type of large domesticated ungulates. They are a prominent modern member of the subfamily Bovinae, are the most widespread species of the genus Bos, and are most commonly classified collectively as Bos primigenius...

, pigs
PIGS
PIGS is a four letter acronym that can stand for:* PIGS , Phosphatidylinositol glycan anchor biosynthesis, class S, a human gene* PIGS , the economies of Portugal, Italy , Greece and Spain...

, sheep and other livestock
Livestock
Livestock refers to one or more domesticated animals raised in an agricultural setting to produce commodities such as food, fiber and labor. The term "livestock" as used in this article does not include poultry or farmed fish; however the inclusion of these, especially poultry, within the meaning...

. The industry
Industry
Industry refers to the production of an economic good or service within an economy.-Industrial sectors:There are four key industrial economic sectors: the primary sector, largely raw material extraction industries such as mining and farming; the secondary sector, involving refining, construction,...

 is primarily focused on producing meat for human consumption, but it also yields a variety of by-product
By-product
A by-product is a secondary product derived from a manufacturing process or chemical reaction. It is not the primary product or service being produced.A by-product can be useful and marketable or it can be considered waste....

s including hides
Hides
A hide is an animal skin treated for human use. Hides include leather from cattle and other livestock animals, alligator skins, snake skins for shoes and fashion accessories and furs from wild cats, mink and bears. In some areas, leather is produced on a domestic or small industrial scale, but most...

, feather
Feather
Feathers are one of the epidermal growths that form the distinctive outer covering, or plumage, on birds and some non-avian theropod dinosaurs. They are considered the most complex integumentary structures found in vertebrates, and indeed a premier example of a complex evolutionary novelty. They...

s, dried blood, and, through the process of rendering
Rendering (industrial)
Rendering is a process that converts waste animal tissue into stable, value-added materials. Rendering can refer to any processing of animal byproducts into more useful materials, or more narrowly to the rendering of whole animal fatty tissue into purified fats like lard or tallow...

, fat
Fat
Fats consist of a wide group of compounds that are generally soluble in organic solvents and generally insoluble in water. Chemically, fats are triglycerides, triesters of glycerol and any of several fatty acids. Fats may be either solid or liquid at room temperature, depending on their structure...

 such as tallow
Tallow
Tallow is a rendered form of beef or mutton fat, processed from suet. It is solid at room temperature. Unlike suet, tallow can be stored for extended periods without the need for refrigeration to prevent decomposition, provided it is kept in an airtight container to prevent oxidation.In industry,...

 and protein
Protein
Proteins are biochemical compounds consisting of one or more polypeptides typically folded into a globular or fibrous form, facilitating a biological function. A polypeptide is a single linear polymer chain of amino acids bonded together by peptide bonds between the carboxyl and amino groups of...

 meals such as meat & bone meal.

In the U.S. and some other countries, the facility where the meat packing is done is called a meat packing plant; in New Zealand
New Zealand
New Zealand is an island country in the south-western Pacific Ocean comprising two main landmasses and numerous smaller islands. The country is situated some east of Australia across the Tasman Sea, and roughly south of the Pacific island nations of New Caledonia, Fiji, and Tonga...

, where most of the products are exported, it is called a freezing works.
Encyclopedia
The meat packing industry handles the slaughtering, processing
Food processing
Food processing is the set of methods and techniques used to transform raw ingredients into food or to transform food into other forms for consumption by humans or animals either in the home or by the food processing industry...

, packaging, and distribution
Distribution (business)
Product distribution is one of the four elements of the marketing mix. An organization or set of organizations involved in the process of making a product or service available for use or consumption by a consumer or business user.The other three parts of the marketing mix are product, pricing,...

 of animals such as cattle
Cattle
Cattle are the most common type of large domesticated ungulates. They are a prominent modern member of the subfamily Bovinae, are the most widespread species of the genus Bos, and are most commonly classified collectively as Bos primigenius...

, pigs
PIGS
PIGS is a four letter acronym that can stand for:* PIGS , Phosphatidylinositol glycan anchor biosynthesis, class S, a human gene* PIGS , the economies of Portugal, Italy , Greece and Spain...

, sheep and other livestock
Livestock
Livestock refers to one or more domesticated animals raised in an agricultural setting to produce commodities such as food, fiber and labor. The term "livestock" as used in this article does not include poultry or farmed fish; however the inclusion of these, especially poultry, within the meaning...

. The industry
Industry
Industry refers to the production of an economic good or service within an economy.-Industrial sectors:There are four key industrial economic sectors: the primary sector, largely raw material extraction industries such as mining and farming; the secondary sector, involving refining, construction,...

 is primarily focused on producing meat for human consumption, but it also yields a variety of by-product
By-product
A by-product is a secondary product derived from a manufacturing process or chemical reaction. It is not the primary product or service being produced.A by-product can be useful and marketable or it can be considered waste....

s including hides
Hides
A hide is an animal skin treated for human use. Hides include leather from cattle and other livestock animals, alligator skins, snake skins for shoes and fashion accessories and furs from wild cats, mink and bears. In some areas, leather is produced on a domestic or small industrial scale, but most...

, feather
Feather
Feathers are one of the epidermal growths that form the distinctive outer covering, or plumage, on birds and some non-avian theropod dinosaurs. They are considered the most complex integumentary structures found in vertebrates, and indeed a premier example of a complex evolutionary novelty. They...

s, dried blood, and, through the process of rendering
Rendering (industrial)
Rendering is a process that converts waste animal tissue into stable, value-added materials. Rendering can refer to any processing of animal byproducts into more useful materials, or more narrowly to the rendering of whole animal fatty tissue into purified fats like lard or tallow...

, fat
Fat
Fats consist of a wide group of compounds that are generally soluble in organic solvents and generally insoluble in water. Chemically, fats are triglycerides, triesters of glycerol and any of several fatty acids. Fats may be either solid or liquid at room temperature, depending on their structure...

 such as tallow
Tallow
Tallow is a rendered form of beef or mutton fat, processed from suet. It is solid at room temperature. Unlike suet, tallow can be stored for extended periods without the need for refrigeration to prevent decomposition, provided it is kept in an airtight container to prevent oxidation.In industry,...

 and protein
Protein
Proteins are biochemical compounds consisting of one or more polypeptides typically folded into a globular or fibrous form, facilitating a biological function. A polypeptide is a single linear polymer chain of amino acids bonded together by peptide bonds between the carboxyl and amino groups of...

 meals such as meat & bone meal.

In the U.S. and some other countries, the facility where the meat packing is done is called a meat packing plant; in New Zealand
New Zealand
New Zealand is an island country in the south-western Pacific Ocean comprising two main landmasses and numerous smaller islands. The country is situated some east of Australia across the Tasman Sea, and roughly south of the Pacific island nations of New Caledonia, Fiji, and Tonga...

, where most of the products are exported, it is called a freezing works. An abattoir is a place where animals are slaughtered for food.

The meat packing industry grew with the construction of the railroads and methods of refrigeration. Railroads made possible the transport of stock to central points for processing, and the transport of products throughout the nation.

The publication of the Upton Sinclair
Upton Sinclair
Upton Beall Sinclair Jr. , was an American author who wrote close to one hundred books in many genres. He achieved popularity in the first half of the twentieth century, acquiring particular fame for his classic muckraking novel, The Jungle . It exposed conditions in the U.S...

 novel The Jungle
The Jungle
The Jungle is a 1906 novel written by journalist Upton Sinclair. Sinclair wrote the novel with the intention of portraying the life of the immigrant in the United States, but readers were more concerned with the large portion of the book pertaining to the corruption of the American meatpacking...

in the US in 1906, shocked the public with the poor working conditions and unsanitary practices in meat packing plants in the United States, specifically Chicago
Chicago
Chicago is the largest city in the US state of Illinois. With nearly 2.7 million residents, it is the most populous city in the Midwestern United States and the third most populous in the US, after New York City and Los Angeles...

. Meat packing plants, like many industries in the early 20th century, were known to overwork their employees, failed to maintain adequate safety measures, and actively fought unionization. In the early part of the century, they used the most recent immigrants and migrants as strikebreakers in labor actions taken by other workers, also usually immigrants or early descendants.

In the 1930s and early 1940s, however, workers achieved unionization under the CIO
Congress of Industrial Organizations
The Congress of Industrial Organizations, or CIO, proposed by John L. Lewis in 1932, was a federation of unions that organized workers in industrial unions in the United States and Canada from 1935 to 1955. The Taft-Hartley Act of 1947 required union leaders to swear that they were not...

's United Packinghouse Workers of America
United Packinghouse Workers of America
The United Packinghouse Workers of America , later the United Packinghouse, Food and Allied Workers, was a labor union that represented workers in the meatpacking industry....

 (UPWA). An interracial committee led the organizing in Chicago
Chicago
Chicago is the largest city in the US state of Illinois. With nearly 2.7 million residents, it is the most populous city in the Midwestern United States and the third most populous in the US, after New York City and Los Angeles...

, where the majority of workers in the industry were black, and other major cities, such as Omaha, Nebraska
Omaha, Nebraska
Omaha is the largest city in the state of Nebraska, United States, and is the county seat of Douglas County. It is located in the Midwestern United States on the Missouri River, about 20 miles north of the mouth of the Platte River...

, where they were an important minority in the industry. UPWA workers made important gains in wages, hours and benefits. In 1957 the stockyards and meat packing employed half the workers of Omaha. The union supported a progressive agenda, including the Civil Rights Movement
Civil rights movement
The civil rights movement was a worldwide political movement for equality before the law occurring between approximately 1950 and 1980. In many situations it took the form of campaigns of civil resistance aimed at achieving change by nonviolent forms of resistance. In some situations it was...

 of the 1960s. While the work was still difficult, for a few decades workers achieved blue-collar, middle-class lives from it.

Mid-century restructuring by the industry of the stockyards, slaughterhouses and meat packing led to relocating facilities closer to cattle feedlots and swine production facilities, to more rural areas, as transportation shifted from rail to truck. It has been difficult for labor to organize in such locations. In addition, the number of jobs fell sharply through technology and other changes. Wages fell during the latter part of the 20th century, and eventually, both Chicago (in 1971) and Omaha (in 1999) closed their stockyards for good. Historically, the other major meat packing cities in the United States were South St. Paul, Minnesota
South St. Paul, Minnesota
South St. Paul is a city in Dakota County, Minnesota, immediately south and southeast of the city of Saint Paul, Minnesota. It is also southeast of West St. Paul, Minnesota. The population was 20,160 at the 2010 census. It is notable as one of the historic major meat packing cities in the United...

, East St. Louis, Illinois
East St. Louis, Illinois
East St. Louis is a city located in St. Clair County, Illinois, USA, directly across the Mississippi River from St. Louis, Missouri in the Metro-East region of Southern Illinois. As of the 2010 census, the city had a total population of 27,006, less than one-third of its peak of 82,366 in 1950...

, Dubuque, Iowa
Dubuque, Iowa
Dubuque is a city in and the county seat of Dubuque County, Iowa, United States, located along the Mississippi River. In 2010 its population was 57,637, making it the ninth-largest city in the state and the county's population was 93,653....

, Kansas City, Missouri
Kansas City, Missouri
Kansas City, Missouri is the largest city in the U.S. state of Missouri and is the anchor city of the Kansas City Metropolitan Area, the second largest metropolitan area in Missouri. It encompasses in parts of Jackson, Clay, Cass, and Platte counties...

, Austin, Minnesota
Austin, Minnesota
As of the census of 2000, there were 23,314 people, 9,897 households, and 6,076 families residing in the city. The population density was 2,168.2 people per square mile . There were 10,261 housing units at an average density of 954.3 per square mile...

, Sioux Falls, South Dakota
Sioux Falls, South Dakota
Sioux Falls is the largest city in the U.S. state of South Dakota. Sioux Falls is the county seat of Minnehaha County, and also extends into Lincoln County to the south...

, and Sioux City, Iowa
Sioux City, Iowa
Sioux City is a city in Plymouth and Woodbury counties in the western part of the U.S. state of Iowa. The population was 82,684 in the 2010 census, a decline from 85,013 in the 2000 census, which makes it currently the fourth largest city in the state....

.

Though the meat packing industry has made many improvements since the early 1900s, extensive changes in the industry since the late 20th century have caused new labor issues to arise. Today, the rate of injury in the meat packing industry is three times that of private industry overall, and meat packing was noted by Human Rights Watch
Human Rights Watch
Human Rights Watch is an international non-governmental organization that conducts research and advocacy on human rights. Its headquarters are in New York City and it has offices in Berlin, Beirut, Brussels, Chicago, Geneva, Johannesburg, London, Los Angeles, Moscow, Paris, San Francisco, Tokyo,...

 as being "the most dangerous factory job in America". The meatpacking industry continues to employ many immigrant laborers, including some who are undocumented workers. In the early 20th century the workers were immigrants from eastern and southern Europe, and black migrants from the South. Today many are Hispanic, from Mexico, Central and South America. The more isolated areas in which the plants are located put workers at greater risk due to their limited ability to organize and to seek redress for work-related injuries.

Meatpackers

These are major historical and current meat packers in the United States
United States
The United States of America is a federal constitutional republic comprising fifty states and a federal district...

.
  • Armour and Company
    Armour and Company
    Armour & Company was an American slaughterhouse and meatpacking company founded in Chicago, Illinois, in 1867 by the Armour brothers, led by Philip Danforth Armour. By 1880, the company was Chicago's most important business and helped make the city and its Union Stock Yards the center of the...

  • Cargill Meat Solutions
    Cargill Meat Solutions
    Cargill Meat Solutions is one of the numerous platforms of Cargill Incorporated. The corporate office is located in Wichita, Kansas. The meat products included in operation are pork, turkey, beef, further processing and case ready....

  • Cudahy Packing Company
    Cudahy Packing Company
    Cudahy Packing Company was a U.S. meat packing company established in 1887 as the Armour-Cudahy Packing Company and incorporated in Maine in 1915. It was founded by Patrick Cudahy and his brother John Cudahy, Irish immigrants from County Kilkenny who came to Milwaukee, Wisconsin to avoid the Great...

  • Greater Omaha Packing Company
  • Lomen Company
    Lomen Company
    Lomen Company was an American meatpacking industry, founded in 1914 by brothers Carl and Alfred Lomen in the then Territory of Alaska.- History :...

  • Hormel Foods
  • Smithfield Foods
    Smithfield Foods
    Smithfield Foods, Inc. is the world’s largest pork producer and processor. Headquartered in Smithfield, Virginia, it runs facilities in 26 U.S. states, including the world's largest meat-processing plant in Tar Heel, North Carolina, and has operations in Brazil, China, France, Mexico, Poland,...

  • Tyson Foods
    Tyson Foods
    Tyson Foods, Inc. is a multinational corporation based in Springdale, Arkansas, that operates in the food industry. The company is the world's second largest processor and marketer of chicken, beef, and pork only behind Brazilian JBS S.A., and annually exports the largest percentage of beef out of...

  • Perdue Farms
    Perdue Farms
    Perdue Farms is a major chicken processing company based in Salisbury, Maryland, United States with annual sales in excess of $4.6B.-Origin and war era:...

  • Swift Packing

+ Foster Farms
Foster Farms
Foster Farms may refer to:* Foster Farms , based in Livingston, California* Foster Farms Dairy, based in Modesto, California...


These are some outside the United States.
  • Imperial Cold Storage and Supply Company
    Imperial Cold Storage and Supply Company
    Imperial Cold Storage and Supply Company was one of the largest meat processing, storage, distribution and marketing companies in South Africa, dominating the South African packaged food sector for almost a hundred years. The company was formally registered and listed as ICS in 1899, originally...

     (South Africa)
  • William Davies Company
    William Davies Company
    William Davies Company was a pork processing and packing company in Toronto, Canada. At one time, it was the largest pork packer both in Canada and the British Empire, and it operated Canada's first major chain of food stores...

  • Maple Leaf Foods
    Maple Leaf Foods
    Maple Leaf Foods Inc. is a major Canadian food processing company, founded in 1927 as a merger of several major Toronto meat packers.-History:The company was originally known as Canada Packers...

     (Canada)
  • Schneider Foods
    Maple Leaf Foods
    Maple Leaf Foods Inc. is a major Canadian food processing company, founded in 1927 as a merger of several major Toronto meat packers.-History:The company was originally known as Canada Packers...

     (Canada)
  • JBS S.A.
    JBS S.A.
    JBS is the largest Brazilian multinational in the food industry, producing fresh, chilled, and processed beef, chicken and pork, and also selling by-products from the processing of these meats. It is headquartered in São Paulo."." JBS S.A. Retrieved on February 3, 2011...

     (Brazil)
  • AFFCO Holdings
    AFFCO Holdings
    AFFCO Holdings Limited, commonly referred to as AFFCO, is one of New Zealand's leading meat companies, having operated in this competitive and innovative sector of New Zealand’s primary sector since 1904....

    (New Zealand)

External links

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