Livestock

Processing and selling pig meat

You may want to employ a professional butcher to turn the carcasses into manageable joints, chops, sausages, bacon and everything else you want to get from your pig or you may want to have a go yourself; there are courses on butchery, sausage making and curing now widely available if you do.

Your abattoir may have a butchery on site or you may need to arrange transport to a local butcher; not all butchers will cure bacon though, so best to check.  Abattoirs may offer a “kill and cut” service, but the cutting may be rather rough and ready, especially in large abattoirs with high throughput.

If you are using a butcher, give him or her plenty of notice of the date of delivery. Most small butchers these days are extremely busy, and can't accommodate a sudden delivery of 3 or 4 pig carcasses for butchering.

Butchers may not be able to deal with private kills in December, or even before, because of the pre-Christmas rush, so plan ahead.

If you are planning to butcher your pig and process meat into sausages or bacon for your own consumption, you can do that at home.

If you are planning to sell or give your pork to a third party, then a whole raft of regulations comes into play to protect the consumer. Speak to your local Environmental Health Department for more information about processing meat on your own premises and selling it, and be aware of the role of the Food Standards Agency in meat hygiene.

Rosemary Champion

About Rosemary Champion

Rosemary lives on a 12 acre smallholding in Angus, in the east of Scotland, where she keeps Ryeland Sheep, Shetland cattle and assorted poultry. She was destined to be a smallholder from an early age.

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