What Does a Retail Meat Cutter Do?

Retail Meat Cutters (245R) cut, trim and package different varieties of meat, fish and poultry for supermarkets, grocery stores, specialty stores, and wholesale food shops.

Job Related Skills, Interests and Values

  • Interacting in a professional manner with customers, answering, re-directing or resolving their inquiries or concerns to ensure satisfaction 
  • Setting up and safely operating a variety of scaling, pricing, lifting and other power equipment
  • Cutting beef, poultry, lamb and pork into retail cuts, labeling and packaging them in trays using packaging equipment
  • Observing sanitation practices and procedures to prevent contamination
  • Acquiring a good working knowledge of various Public Health & Safety and other relevant Acts
  • Using and maintaining hand tools and accessories correctly and safely
  • Inspecting meat/poultry products, receiving and checking shipments against invoices, noting any errors
  • Handling frozen products and maintaining refrigeration controls to prevent spoilage
  • Displaying and maintaining meat products, analyzing sales volumes
  • Maintaining written records such as work or service orders, as well as making sure product labels are clear, concise and meet requirements
  • Completing financial transactions when required

Additional information on training standards for this particular trade in the Service sector may be found on the Ontario College of Trades (OCOT) website at: http://www.collegeoftrades.ca/wp-content/uploads/245R-Retail-Meat-Cutter-Schedule-ENG-2010.pdf

To view the Essential Skills necessary to work in this occupation, click on the following link for Butchers/ Meat Cutters at NOC code 9462: http://www.jobbank.gc.ca/report-eng.do?area=6261&lang=eng&noc=9462&action=final&ln=n®ionKeyword=Burlington%2C+Ontario&s=3&source=0&titleKeyword=industrial+meat+cutter#RegulatedOccupation

What Preparation and Training Do You Need?

You should complete your Grade 12 with a secondary school diploma, preferably with credits in Mathematics, English, and Science, as well as an apprenticeship of 4,000 hours, via a combination of on-the-job and in-school training. This is the minimum to be apprenticed in this trade under the (OCTAA) Ontario College of Trades Apprenticeship Act (2009). Please note that minimum entry requirements to this and other trades are currently under review by the Ontario College of Trades.

What’s Your Future as a Retail Meat Cutter?

Retail Meat Cutters are employed in the service sector, in large towns and in small, primarily in the retail food and grocery business, and may advance to supervisory positions, or open their own shops. They usually work a 40 hour week, indoors, sometimes in or adjacent to refrigerated areas with temperatures between 4 degrees Celcius and 10 degrees Celcius. There is always the risk of injury from sharp instruments such as knives and saws. Employment can be found with:

  • Wholesale or Retail Meat shops
  • Supermarket operations
  • Delicatessens
  • Grocery Stores
  • Self-employment

Wage Rate

  • Apprentices generally earn less than fully qualified Journeypeople
  • As your skills and expertise increase, so does your wage
  • Fully qualified Retail Meat Cutters earn from $14.00 - $20.00 per hour

Ask Yourself: Is Working as a Retail Meat Cutter for You?


Do you have normal colour vision and good hand-eye coordination?

Yes      No

Do you like setting up and operating equipment?

Yes      No

Do you enjoy dealing with customers and answering their questions?

Yes      No

Are you able to lift, reach, stand, bend and do you have the stamina to work with animal carcasses?

Yes      No

Do you persist until the job is done right?

Yes      No

Can you handle knives and other sharp cutting tools and equipment quickly but safely ?

Yes      No

Do you have good personal hygiene and the willingness to follow good sanitation procedures?

Yes      No

If you answered Yes to most of these questions, a career as a Retail Meat Cutter may be for You!

You may also want to explore other careers that require similar interests and skills, such as:

  • Grocery Store Manager
  • Meat Department Manager
  • Baker
  • Chef
  • Meat Buyer
  • Inspector

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