Thompson Rivers University
Thompson Rivers University

Retail Meat Program Information

Contact: Corey Davison at 250-371-5991

Program goals

Retail Meat Cutters

The program is nine months of full-time training. Its main goal is to provide the knowledge and skills students require to enter employment as meat cutters in custom cutting, sausage and curing operations, and in supermarkets and megamarkets with their own manufacturing facilities. To achieve this goal of employability, the program places special importance on productivity training and on the business factors of the meat cutting industry. As part of the students' preparation for the industry, the program also consists of specialized training in the accuracy of cutting, knife handling, portion control, merchandising and the utilization of all products. Safety, sanitation, punctuality and personal appearance are stressed throughout the program.

To maintain the relevance of the program to provincial and local industry needs and standards, it is supported by an Advisory Committee with broad representation from the meat cutting industry.

Admission requirements

If you are considering entering this program, the following qualifications and attributes are required:

  • A minimum of grade 10, although grade 12 is strongly recommended
  • Successful post-secondary pre-test
  • Instructor interview
  • Student/referee recommendation requirements
  • Referee data to instructor
  • A strong physical build
  • Good manual dexterity
  • A strong, positive attitude


Once you are in the program, you will be expected to help maintain heavy production schedules:

  • by being punctual and consistent with attendance
  • by cooperating in all team work activities
  • by maintaining a positive attitude

And to help your own future employment opportunities by:

  • adhering to the program dress code for the practical sessions
  • maintaining a well-groomed appearance

Program design and activities

The Retail Meat Processing and Manufacturing Program consists of nine courses. Eight of the nine courses consist of both a theory and practical component. Practical work is carried out from Monday to Thursday, with theory work and evaluation taking place on Friday morning. You will be required to take notes in class and study the Retail Meat Cutting Manual and supplementary handouts. The schedule of work in the practical sessions and the theory sessions will be subject to change depending on production requirements and on the instructor's sense of class progress. The dress code is based on industry practices and requires all students to wear clean shirts and ties, black slacks and black shoes (no runners), and women wear clean blouses. The code is in effect Monday through Thursday. Informal but clean and tidy dress is appropriate on Friday.

Program structure

Specifically, graduates of the program will have acquired the knowledge and the skills of the following courses and topics:

Meat 1010 Safety and Sanitation

  • Equipment and tool safety
  • Sanitation practices and participation
  • Personal hygiene
  • Refrigeration basics
  • Attendance and punctuality
  • Theory and exam

Meat 1020 Beef and Veal Carcass Processing

Meat Processing

Preparation procedures and productivity training for:

  • Beef
  • Veal
  • Variety meats
  • Packaging of meats
  • C.F.I.A. product names
  • Grading and inspection
  • Attendance and punctuality
  • Sanitation participation
  • Product recognition
  • Two practical exams
  • Theory and exam

Meat 1030 Meat Science

An introduction to Meat Science as it relates to the meat processing industry.


  • Assignments
  • Theory and exam

Meat 1040 Pork Processing

Preparation procedures and productivity training for pork processing.

  • C.F.I.A. product names
  • Grading and inspection
  • Practical exams
  • Product recognition
  • Theory and exam

Meat 1050 Lamb Processing

Preparation procedures and productivity training for lamb processing.
  • C.F.I.A. product names
  • Grading and inspection
  • Product identification
  • Theory and exam
Poultry Processing

Meat 1060 Poultry Processing

Preparation procedures and productivity training for poultry processing.

  • C.F.I.A. product names
  • Grading and inspection
  • Product identification
  • Practical exam

Meat 1070 Seafood Processing

Preparation procedures and training for seafood.

  • Grading and inspection
  • C.F.I.A. regulations
  • Assignments
  • Theory and exam

Meat 1080 Product Identification and Nomenclature

Practical training to correctly identify beef and pork product primal, sub primal, and retail cuts.

  • Assignments
  • C.F.I.A. product names
  • Product identification
  • Theory and exam

Meat 1090 Value Added Processing

Preparation procedures and training for the manufacture of value added products such as:

  • Jerky processing
  • Vacuum tumbling and marinating meats
  • Bacon and ham manufacturing
  • Meat packaging methods

Meat 1100 Fresh, Smoked and Cured Sausage

Preparation procedures and training for the manufacture of fresh, cooked and smoked sausage.

  • Sausage making history
  • Recipe creation
  • Spices and spice history
  • Casing types and uses
  • Non-meat ingredients and uses
  • Fresh sausage processing
  • Meat diseases associated with sausage manufacturing
  • Meat proteins and binding factors
  • Understanding pH values
  • Cured and smoked sausage procedures
  • Smokehouse operations
  • Assignments
  • Theory and exams

Meat 1110 Meat Nutrition and Cooking

Theory based training with practical components related to meat nutrition and the cooking of meats.

  • Beef, pork, lamb and poultry cooking
  • Product identification and cooking methods
  • Meat nutrition
  • Assignment
  • Theory and exam

Meat 1120 Customer Service and Employment Skills

  • Industry practical work experience (6 weeks)
  • Student work experience search
  • Product identification
  • Industry related advertising
  • Customer service practices
  • Personal issues
  • Trading techniques
  • Resume construction

Meat 1130 Business Related Math

  • Metric conversion of weights and prices
  • Pricing analysis
  • Code dating
  • Shipping and receiving
  • Price factors
  • Mark-up/mark-down
  • Shrink analysis
  • Gross and net profit
  • Inventory analysis
  • Reciprocal factors
  • Wage costs
  • Dollar and sales per man hour

NOTE: While the basic ingredients of the program are standard, the program is designed to keep pace with industry demands, and is subject to change without notice. In addition, some selections of the program may not be offered, when the product is not available.

The Friday theory sessions are supplemented with guest speakers, including:

  • Canadian Food Inspection Agency Inspectors (C.F.I.A.)
  • Animal health veterinarians
  • BC livestock representatives
  • Brand inspectors
  • Meat managers

In addition, special lectures by college staff will include:

  • Resume writing
  • Cooking

About half way through the program there will be seminars on public relations, customer contact and advertising. Visits to some local meat cutting operations will take place early in the program to help familiarize you with the industry. Other field trips may include visits to slaughter house operations and/or chicken processing plants.

NOTE: You will be advised of special guests, lectures and field trips in advance wherever possible. All of these are subject to change depending on availability.

All courses, except one, consist of instructor demonstrations followed by your own opportunity to do practical cutting. Except for the recognition of animal bone structure and of primal and secondary cuts, practical subjects are followed by supporting theory sessions that may then be combined with practical demonstrations.


The program begins with an extensive two-week orientation period which includes the following items:

Week 1: Program rules and regulations

  • Hand tool demonstration and practice
  • Equipment demonstration and practice
  • Knife sharpening and practice
  • Meat wrapping and practice
  • Metric conversion and basic math
  • Hobart Quantum scale operation and practice
  • Knot tying and practice
  • Writing-up meat orders and practice
  • Sanitation routine, rosters evaluation and practice

Week 2: A brief summary

  • Meat inspection
  • Grading and carcass identification
  • Practical demonstrations of beef carcass breaking
  • Beef primal cutting
  • Beef secondary cutting
  • Boning techniques
  • Customer service operations
  • Circuit training introduction

By the middle of the second week, students start cutting beef. Stations are allocated to all the primary and secondary cuts, and to the other meat cutting tasks. Over several days, students move through all the stations, rotating from one cut to the next with at least three turns at the same cut, and more depending on the availability of the product. As skills begin to develop, students are quickly given wider cutting responsibility and leave the rotation system to work in groups and then on their own. First, a hind or front quarter of beef is allocated to two students for cutting. When student speed is increased still further, an individual student will be given a quarter, and then a whole side.

Body of the program

Retail Meat Processing Program

From week three onward, students learn to cut, in succession, beef, pork, lamb, chicken, veal and fish, using the rotation system and then group and individual work, until the whole class has completed an entire unit of each product and appears comfortable with the increasing work load. This work is done using both block-ready and regular sides of meat to simulate supermarket and small store conditions. In addition, the fall class usually has the opportunity to cut some game. Meat 108 - Sausage Manufacturing takes place January through April.

With the program's emphasis on business efficiency, cutting tests are carried out regularly to allow students to determine the production costs for different animals and grades of meat. To encourage efficiency in cutting and understanding of the value of meat, students are required to show the waste factor and percentage yield for every order. These orders are recorded and invoiced daily by the instructor until students on the customer service station become familiar with office procedures. Then they will be delegated some of the office work such as taking customer orders, filling order forms and receiving and shipping orders.

To develop skills in product packaging students tray-wrap all products by hand, and weigh and label them using the Hobart Quantum scales.


Retail Meat Processing Student

With the emphasis the program places on preparing students to meet the high standards and productivity levels demanded by the industry, students in every phase of the program are given the opportunity for varied work assignments and increased cutting responsibilities to match their growing skill. In particular, students have the opportunity to train in speed work after the instructor determines they have reached the required level of skill and motivation, and they have had an orientation discussion with the instructor. Speed work involves the use of time cards, similar to those in industry, to record increases in productivity.

Practical work experience

Starting at about the mid-point of the program, students will be required to undertake two three-week practical work experiences to get a feel for an industry setting. The instructor helps arrange this in collaboration with businesses throughout British Columbia. About half of the students are assigned work experience somewhere in Kamloops or other areas of British Columbia while the other students continue with cutting activities, sausage manufacturing and with theory portions of the program in preparation for their own field work.

Students from outside of the immediate Kamloops area are encouraged to do their work experience in their home communities.

While on practicum, students are subject to their employer's company policies. They are not paid wages, but are covered by the Workers' Compensation Board (WCB) and the Ministry of Advanced Education and Job Training. The employers are responsible for completing evaluations of the students which are then tabulated as part of Meat 1070 - Employment Skills grade.


The program's instructors evaluate students in two ways - formatively and summatively.

Formative evaluation consists of the feedback and advice instructors give day by day, during and after class, in the group and in private consultation. Through this kind of evaluation students get a direct sense of their progress, especially in their cutting skills and in their attitude and motivation. To make this feedback more specific and also to provide prospective employers with concrete information, the instructors keep records of student attendance, attitude, and practical and theory progress.

Summative evaluation determines a student's final standing in the program. Each of the nine courses has a final mark and grade which is arrived at by students completing quizzes, theory and practical exams. Outlined below are the program courses and evaluation process, showing the components that contribute to final grades. Each course grade totals 100 percent.

Summative evaluation — Year 2012-2013
M1010 Safety and Sanitation - Final Theory
- Two Assignments
- Sanitary Participation
- Punctuality/Attendance

Beef & Veal Processing Meat Packaging

- Final Theory
- 4 Quizzes
- Practical Final
- Final Cut Speed
- 2 Assignments
- Sanitary Participation
- Punctuality/Attendance
M1030 Pork, Lamb & Poultry Processing - Final Theory
- 4 Quizzes
- 2 Assignments
M1040 Seafood Merchandising - Final Theory
- 2 Assignments
M1050 Beef & Pork, Merchandising - Final Theory
- 5 Quizzes
- 6 Assignments
M1060 Cooking & Carving - Final Theory
- 1 Assignment
M1070 Employment Skills - Work Search
- Work Experience I
- Work Experience II
- Product ID Quiz
- Resume
M1080 Processed Meat Manufacturing - Final Theory
- 2 Quizzes
- 3 Assignments
M1090 Business & Calculations Assignments, Quizzes and Final Exam Schedule
Unit 1 August/September Assignment 1
Assignment 2
Assignment 3

Quiz 1

Unit 1 October/December Assignment 4
Assignment 5
Assignment 6
Quiz 2
Unit 3a January/March Assignment 7
Assignment 8
Assignment 9
Quiz 3
Unit 3b April/May Assignment 10
Assignment 11
Assignment 12
Quiz 4
May Final Math Theory Exam
Evaluation 12 Assignments
4 Quizzes
Final Math Theory Exam
= 100%

Final theory tests are administered after the completion of each course or series of modules. Students are expected to obtain 70% to pass. However, one chance is given to rewrite final exams to obtain a maximum of 70%. Grading for this program is laid out in the TRU Calendar under Vocational Programs.

NOTE: Course assignments: If late — receive no marks. No rewrites permitted.
Course Quizzes: If late or absent without acceptable excuse (e.g., sick) — no marks. No rewrites.

Cutting speed and quality for the program are assessed by one or more practical exams in which students cut a front and hind quarter of beef to the standards set by the program and by the Food Training Department.

Upon successful completion of the program, students receive a TRU certificate.


Students not adhering to the rules and regulations laid out in this document may be placed on probation.

  • Students will first be warned verbally by their instructor should they not conduct themselves according to TRU or department policies. The warning will be duly recorded on the student's file.
  • If a problem continues, the student will be given a written warning by his/her instructor and the student will be required to sign an agreement detailing the measures required by the student to correct his/her behaviour.
  • If the problem continues the student will be given a written warning signed by the instructor and department chairperson, followed by a meeting with the chairperson where a decision will be made on whether the student should continue in the program. Unless an adequate explanation can be made, the matter will be passed on to the Registrar's Office where a recommendation of "student withdrawal" from the program will be made.

The emphasis the program places on training students up to industry standards, and the dependency it has on team work requires that there be a probation system. The system can be seen as an extension of the formative evaluation process, and provides a structure and an incentive for success for those students who may be experiencing difficulties in the program. A student may be placed on probation by the instructor or Department Chairperson for one or more of the following circumstances:

  • Frequent tardiness for class
  • Absences without excuse
  • Failure to notify the instructor of absences
  • General untidiness and consistent disregard for the dress code
  • Failure to curb bad language
  • Abuse of alcohol or drugs, or impaired working ability resulting from their use
  • Consistent failure to complete practical assignments or weakness in theory
  • Disruption of class or individual student progress through inability or refusal to work as part of a team
  • Frequent unnecessary talking during busy practical work sessions

The first stage is to notify the student verbally of problems that must be dealt with. If these problems persist, probation itself is instituted with a consultation between the student and instructor to develop a probation contract. The student signs the contract at the beginning of classes as an indication that s/he will make every effort toward success by completing the terms of the contract. Failure to show significant improvement during the period of the contract may result in dismissal.


Full time attendance is required in the Retail Meat Processing Program to achieve passing marks for the courses and program. The instructor will record attendance each day.


The instructor has the right to refuse admission to his class or lab training area if students are late. This will result in a missed day. Two late arrivals equals a one day absence (providing the instructor permits the student to stay in class).

Attendance Penalties

The meat industry, like all other jobs, requires individuals to be present at the work or training site and to be on time to start work or begin training. Therefore, the following rules and marking procedures will be used to reflect poor attendance and lateness.

Course M1010 - Safety and Sanitation

Attendance and Tardiness

This course is undertaken during the first month of the program. Students must pass this course to continue in the program. Also Course M1090, Business and Calculation, must show a passing mark for assignments numbers one to three and quiz one. Attendance and being on time is essential. Therefore, the following rules will apply for this course:

1 day missed = 5%
2 days missed = 10%
3 days missed = 15%
4 days missed = 20%
deduction from your final mark
deduction from your final mark
if unexcused, will result in dismissal
if unexcused, will result in dismissal

Courses M1020 to M1090

The following system for attendance and tardiness will apply:

Students must complete courses M1020, M1030 and M1050 at the end of the first semester (September to December) to be able to continue in the program.

Courses M1040, M1060 through to M1090 must be passed in the second semester (January to May) to complete the program.

Attendance and tardiness will be reflected on the marks of course M1020. This course is a critical component of the program and takes the duration of the program to complete.

Attendance demerits will not be shown on courses M1030 to M1090.

1 day missed = 5%
2 days missed = 10%
3 days missed = 15%
4 days missed = 20%
5 days missed = 25%
deduction from your final mark
deduction from your final mark
deduction from your final mark
deduction from your final mark
deduction from your final mark


  1. Consecutive 3 days absence without notice to the instructor results in dismissal.
  2. More than 5 days accumulated absences without a medical certificate, proof of compassionate leave or other just reason results in dismissal.

The following form is signed by students on the first day of classes to indicate their understanding of the program's requirements and their agreement to abide by them.

For instructor/student file

Registered students are required to sign this form.

Full Name: ____________________________________

Address while enrolled in class: _____________________________________________

Phone #: _____________________________________

Age: ______

Change of Address: _____________________________________________

Phone #: _____________________________________

I have read this document and understand the prerequisites and expectations this program has, and agree to abide by them.

Signature: ____________________________________

Date: ________________________________________