Lamb processing field trip for Year 11 Food got us all thinking

Wednesday 8th March 2023

On Monday the Year 11 Food students visited Silver Fern Farm's Finegand plant (Balclutha) to see where our lamb cuts come from.

Our safety briefing was an education in itself as we surrendered all watches, phones and pocket contents before donning the outfit you see pictured above.  Boot and hand washing was also required each time we left one and headed into another department. I hope this made kitchen food safety become more of a reality.

Once we headed into the plant, the lamb chain was just about to crank into action. This means that we got to follow one animal heading through the process from start to finish. The killing floor was both confronting and thought provoking. While the x-ray assisted robot brought home the high-tech nature of modern meat processing. Especially considering that the robot we saw was about to be superseded by a multi-million dollar new generation machine created by Scott Technology.

One of the most sobering facts was that the new knife sharpening robot at the plant could create an edge 99% + as sharp as a surgeon's scalpel. Touching your arm with a knife sharpened by this machine meant a cut to the bone.

We really appreciated the time McGlashan parent Marcus Beadell (Ewan Year 12 and Oliver Year 10) and colleague Melissa Sowden took to host us at Finegand. Though the plant is presently processing around 7000 sheep and 400 cattle a day the limiting factor is staff. Marcus and Melissa were both gracious and engaging in letting come through the plant but it was obvious, reading between the lines, that they were both more than busy. 

I am sure the boys left with a better idea about where and how our food is produced.