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My day at the Mulitnational Corporate Conglomorate cutting facility

HI all! I've been gone from the blogosphere for two months now! Crap! It's been really crazy around here. I was interviewing around the state for a new job (both within and outside the meat industry) considering a move, and KT got a new job, too. I'm still cutting in the same place for now, but I have a lead on a few other things. Mainly, I just need to find something with a shorter commute, as a large portion of my paycheck is going to gas. We now have insurance since KT is working for the state. Pretty sweet.

THe most interesting thing that happened over the past couple months is my interview at a major, multination conglomorate. I didn't sign any sort of confidentiality, but I'd prefer not to name the company publically. Also, obviously I didn't have the opportunity to take any pictures, although I was really tempted to take some on a couple of occasions.

The position I was interviewing for was as a Retail Sales Merchandiser. What I thought it would be was traveling around to supermarkets and such to merchandise and advise meat cutters on the proper display, etc., of the Case Ready meats that this company produces. What the job essentially was in reality was teaching immigrant and unskilled labor how to cut and trim the meat as it was being produced on the factory floor. Not exactly my cup of tea, esp. since this specific plant was the one that supplied case ready meat to the market I was laid off from when I began butchering. It was sort of fun telling this to my interviewers as my reason for leaveing that job. "Well, actually, that was kind of due to you guys..."

Anyway, let me talk about the cutting floor for a bit, as it was what most impacted me. There were two lines, one pork, one beef, on seperate sides of the plant, although not seperated by any sort of barrier. On the pork side, there were two lines, one of boneless loins, the other of BI loins. the BI line consisted of maybe 5 or 6 staggered bone saws, with staggered trimmers/packers behind them, then Tri-gas packaging machines behind them. Trigas (IIRC) is a blend of Ni, CO2 and something else that inhibits bacterial growth by eliminating or reducing O2 within the package. This is how case ready pork and beef are able to have 3 to 4 week case life (not shelf life) as opposed to about 3 to 5 days for traditionaly cut meats. Mmmmm...gases...yum. The BI line seemed safe enough, but the boneless line consisted of a few guys standing around a small table together, nearly slicing each other open with each pass of the knife. Just watching it made me nervous.

We finished observing the pork production and walked over to the beef line (without washing our boots or hands, which, I think, is a major health code no-no). The beef line was truely frightening. There was the largest grinder I've ever seen (and I've seen some REALLY big ones) with an automated trayer. Imagine a converyer belt coming from the grider with a a steady stream of perfectly rectangularly ground beef shooting out of it at about 10 pounds a second, that leads into another machine and exits on the same converyour as perfectly shaped bricks of 2 lbs of ground meats that then fall into trays at a regular interval. It was creepy.

I should also mention that ALL of the beef was pumped. I didn't get to see the pumping machines, but I did get to see the tanks that held the solution, which were roughly the size of a full pallet if it were squared. I also got to see the results of pumping upon whole primals before they were cut. Essentially they looked pin-pricked in a wierd, perfectly spaced pattern. YIkes.
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