Meat, Poultry, and Fish Cutters and Trimmers helps professionals in meat, poultry, and fish cutter and trimmer careers find better opportunities across all specialties and locations. Sign up in our talent cluster and get scouted today!

Also known as:
Crab Picker, Deboner, Fish Cutter, Fish Filleter, Frozen Meat Cutter, Meat Trimmer, Oyster Shucker, Poultry Cutter, Poultry Eviscerator, Shrimp Peeler

Video transcript

When it comes to buying meat, poultry, or fish, consumers want more than just a good price - they want products that have been prepared properly and safely. That's the responsibility of meat, poultry, and fish cutters and trimmers.

Cutters and trimmers first inspect the food to ensure that it's free of defects or bruises. Then they'll clean, slice, and section the product. With meat and poultry, bones and excess fat may be removed. With fish, the process of removing bones and other parts that are inedible is called filleting. These workers need to be skilled in using knives, cleavers, and electric cutting tools.

To meet government health standards, most processing areas are refrigerated. Low temperatures help keep the food fresh during preparation. Being able to pay careful attention to your job despite the chilly working conditions is important. Special sanitary measures must be followed as well, such as wearing hairnets and gloves.

Most cutters and trimmers work a steady 40-hour week. You can learn on the job, usually from a more experience worker. This work can be repetitive and physical strength may be required. Large sections of meat or boxes of poultry or fish can be heavy to move.

Whether working on an assembly line in a large processing plant or at a counter in the local supermarket, cutters and trimmers play an important role in helping feed the nation.

Use hands or hand tools to perform routine cutting and trimming of meat, poultry, and seafood.
Critical decision making
Level of responsibilities
Job challenge and pressure to meet deadlines
Dealing and handling conflict
Competition for this position
Communication with others
Work closely with team members, clients etc.
Comfort of the work setting
Exposure to extreme environmental conditions
Exposure to job hazards
Physical demands
Daily tasks

Inspect meat products for defects, bruises or blemishes and remove them along with any excess fat.

Separate meats and byproducts into specified containers and seal containers.

Use knives, cleavers, meat saws, bandsaws, or other equipment to perform meat cutting and trimming.

Weigh meats and tag containers for weight and contents.

Cut and trim meat to prepare for packing.

Getting Information Observing, receiving, and otherwise obtaining information from all relevant sources.
Identifying Objects, Actions, and Events Identifying information by categorizing, estimating, recognizing differences or similarities, and detecting changes in circumstances or events.
Handling and Moving Objects Using hands and arms in handling, installing, positioning, and moving materials, and manipulating things.
Inspecting Equipment, Structures, or Material Inspecting equipment, structures, or materials to identify the cause of errors or other problems or defects.
Communicating with Supervisors, Peers, or Subordinates Providing information to supervisors, co-workers, and subordinates by telephone, in written form, e-mail, or in person.
Processing Information Compiling, coding, categorizing, calculating, tabulating, auditing, or verifying information or data.
Making Decisions and Solving Problems Analyzing information and evaluating results to choose the best solution and solve problems.
Organizing, Planning, and Prioritizing Work Developing specific goals and plans to prioritize, organize, and accomplish your work.
Production and Processing Knowledge of raw materials, production processes, quality control, costs, and other techniques for maximizing the effective manufacture and distribution of goods.
Food Production Knowledge of techniques and equipment for planting, growing, and harvesting food products (both plant and animal) for consumption, including storage/handling techniques.
Public Safety and Security Knowledge of relevant equipment, policies, procedures, and strategies to promote effective local, state, or national security operations for the protection of people, data, property, and institutions.
Mathematics Knowledge of arithmetic, algebra, geometry, calculus, statistics, and their applications.
Administration and Management Knowledge of business and management principles involved in strategic planning, resource allocation, human resources modeling, leadership technique, production methods, and coordination of people and resources.
Mechanical Knowledge of machines and tools, including their designs, uses, repair, and maintenance.
Personnel and Human Resources Knowledge of principles and procedures for personnel recruitment, selection, training, compensation and benefits, labor relations and negotiation, and personnel information systems.
Transportation Knowledge of principles and methods for moving people or goods by air, rail, sea, or road, including the relative costs and benefits.
Active Listening Giving full attention to what other people are saying, taking time to understand the points being made, asking questions as appropriate, and not interrupting at inappropriate times.
Speaking Talking to others to convey information effectively.
Judgment and Decision Making Considering the relative costs and benefits of potential actions to choose the most appropriate one.
Monitoring Monitoring/Assessing performance of yourself, other individuals, or organizations to make improvements or take corrective action.
Critical Thinking Using logic and reasoning to identify the strengths and weaknesses of alternative solutions, conclusions or approaches to problems.
Coordination Adjusting actions in relation to others' actions.
Social Perceptiveness Being aware of others' reactions and understanding why they react as they do.
Time Management Managing one's own time and the time of others.