The first known methods of preserving meat were salting and drying, which in the Mediterranean region were used even before the Roman Empire. Since the Middle Ages, the manufacture of all sorts of sausages has been known to take place in many regions of the world. The methods of production and preservation were adjusted to the local environmental conditions. In southern Europe, the prevalent products salted/cured and dried, in the north - semi-dried, while in the countries of Central Europe - smoked and boiled sausages. Appert's invention in the late 19th century expanded opportunities for the production of meat products into the area of pasteurized and sterilized canned products. In later years the range of processed products widened, partly as a result of the development of transportation and migration of the population.
Initially, under the conditions of craftsmanship, the slaughter of animals and the production of meat preparations were carried out in the same workshop. The rise of municipal slaughterhouses resulted in a partial separation of these activities through the centralization of slaughtering and the establishment of a series of processing workshops. The transformation of butchers' workshops into industrial plants in the 20th century went different ways in Europe and in other regions of the world. In the relatively densely populated Europe, medium-sized industrial plants with full production profile (slaughtering, boning, processing) were being established. On the other hand, in the Americas, Australia or in South Africa, slaughterhouses were being built in the area of animal rearing, with the processing plants in more densely populated urban centers. In recent years, in Europe, slaughterhouses as well as processing plants are being located away from urban settlements.
Meat processing (PDF, 113 KB)