Processing simply refers to altering raw product into a form ready for consumers. While almost all our food is processed, there are varying degrees of processing. Three categories of processed food are:
- Minimally processing food: washing, slicing, pasteurization
- Processed food ingredients: milling, crushing, chemical processing
- Highly processed foods: examples include cereal, chips, cookies, ice cream, cured meats, vegetarian meats
The video above touches on some of the considerations that are important, but several other questions should also be answered when choosing a meat processor.
- Are you selling the animal or selling meat?
- Is the identity of your animal preserved through the slaughter, processing, and packaging process?
- Are you going to sell directly to consumers from the farm, farmers’ markets, or online?
- Or will you sell through a wholesaler, retailer, food hub, or the processor?
- Which level of processing certification is important for you? USDA, State, Custom-exempt, or on-farm?
- When can you schedule the slaughter?
The University of Minnesota’s Department of Animal Science goes over many of these considerations and more that should be evaluated when choosing a meat slaughter or processing company.