It is understood as processed meats those meat derivatives that are made from the homogeneous mixture of minced meat (originating from beef, pork, poultry, and all their combinations), animal fat (either in the form of bacon or from the same meat), salt to generate flavor, spices that give the characteristic taste to each of the processed meats, some additives, and preservatives necessary for human health. Subsequently, the mixture is introduced into both natural and artificial casings, undergoing pre-cooking and vacuum packaging to increase its shelf life and be distributed. According to their preparation, there are different types of processed meats such as fresh, cooked, dry, smoked, among others.

The processed meat industry is one of the largest industries in terms of sales, with processed meats being one of the most consumed foods worldwide. This industry involves the preparation, processing, and distribution of processed animal meat (processed meats), with different production lines depending on the product to be made and the conditions it must meet. This production is done linearly with minimal manual operation, such as transporting the product in one of the machines.

Image 1. Production line for three types of sausages [1].

As seen in Image 1, the production process covers different stages, with the transformation stages being as follows:

Due to the fact that the majority of the meat received for this process is frozen in blocks of approximately 25 kg and at a temperature of around -18 to -15 degrees Celsius, a thawing process is carried out in an industrial microwave, increasing the temperature to around -5 degrees Celsius.

The semi-thawed blocks from the industrial microwave are transported to the meat grinder, where it crushes the meat blocks into sections of up to 8 mm and at a temperature between -3 to 0 degrees Celsius. There are two types of cutting systems used, namely the Enterprise system and the Unger system, with the Enterprise system being the most used in small and medium-sized enterprises due to its simple cuts made with a star-cutting blade, and the Unger system used in large industries due to its double and triple cutting systems.

Image 2. Meat grinder [2].

Depending on the intended application of the previously minced meat, it undergoes one of the mixing systems, which are the cutter or the mixer. In the cutter, a homogeneous mixture of ground protein is produced along with water, additives, and spices. The mixture has particle sizes of up to 1 mm, where the different components can still be identified separately. On the other hand, there is the mixer that produces a semi-homogeneous mixture with a pasty texture using helical blades. It incorporates ground protein, additives, preservatives, flavorings, and water. The resulting mixture from the mixer is poured into an emulsifier to achieve a fluid product and a completely homogeneous blend.

Image 3. Cutter and mixer [2].

After homogenizing the mixture and being fully prepared, it is injected into casings (natural or artificial) through an extrusion process. Strips of varying diameters and lengths are obtained depending on the type of processed meat desired. These strips are then hung on transport molds to be transported to the ovens.

Image 4. Stuffer [2].

In the ovens, the processed meats undergo cooking to achieve a firm consistency while imparting characteristic color, flavor, and aroma. The aim is to achieve an internal temperature exceeding 75 degrees Celsius, maintaining this temperature for approximately five minutes. After this time, the transport molds are removed from the ovens and placed in cooling tunnels until they reach temperatures between 4 and 0 degrees Celsius. This cooling process prepares them for various cuts (if necessary) and vacuum packaging, resulting in a product ready for the market.


  • Maquinaria – GASER – Maquinaria para la industria alimentaria y elaboración de embutidos. (s. f.). GASER – Machinery for the meat processing industry and cured meat manufacturing.

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