Head Processing

In 1975 head skinning became necessary for sheep meats destined for export to the EEC. As part of carcass inspec-

Figure 3. Shoulder puller.
Figure 4. Final puller.

tion, the head, in a totally skinned state, had to be presented with the carcass for examination. In response to this requirement, several head-skinning machines were developed. The most successful was a machine that incorporated a small shaft that gripped a flap of skin near the nose and removed the skin by a rolling action. This machine was used in most meat plants throughout New Zealand and Australia.

The EEC regulation requiring heads to be presented with the carcass was partially relaxed in 1987, so that inspection was required only for those heads from which edible brains and tongues were to be saved. Therefore, the focus of developments in head processing (skinning and brain and tongue removal) has changed.

The Mechanical Dressing Project has recently developed several machines, including one that automatically severs the atlas joint at the base of the skull (Fig. 9), and one that automatically splits the head, followed by automatic extraction of the brain (Fig. 10).

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