Poultry cutters and trimmers slaughter, divide, and pack chickens and other poultry. Most work on assembly lines executing unique tasks. Fish cutters and trimmers prepare fish for manufacturing or retail by scaling, cutting, and dressing the fish. In retail outlets, they may interact with customers and fill orders. Both poultry and fish cutters and trimmers create ready-to-heat products by dicing bit-size pieces, adding vegetables, and mixing in sauces.
Certain basic skills are required of poultry and fish cutters and trimmers. They need to possess good coordination and depth perception, adequate physical strength, and the ability to distinguish between colors. Depending on the State in which they work, a health certificate may be required as well. Retail butchers who interact with customers should have a professional appearance and friendly disposition.
In 2002, poultry and fish cutters and trimmers earned a median annual salary of $17,820. Earnings ranged from the lowest 10 percent, who earned less than $14,270, and the highest 10 percent, who earned more than $24,840. The highest median annual salaries were found in grocery stores, while the lowest were found in seafood product preparation and packaging.
Training and Education
Minimal to no training is required to obtain a job as a poultry and fish cutter and trimmer. Most employees are trained on the job. Depending on the employer, this training can be formal or informal. Training begins with the more elementary techniques, such as basic cutting and bone removal, and progresses to more advance skills, such as dividing carcasses and curing meat. Many employers have begun to combat the rising concern about meat safety by offering more employee training on the subject.
Out of the nearly 757,000 food processing jobs in 2002, about 154,000 people were employed as poultry and fish cutters and trimmers.
Between 2002 and 2012, the number of poultry and fish cutters and trimmers is expected to increase as fast as the average. The growing popularity of ready-to-heat fish and poultry products will ensure a high demand for these types of workers.
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