Before slaughtering the pigs, it must be made sure that none of the female pigs are on heat at the time. Also the animals that are destined for breeding cannot be used for obtaining ham. The weight that the pig must be in order to be slaughtered is between 115 - 130 Kg and they must be a minimum of 8 months old; having been fed for one and a half of them on milk and the remaining 6 and a half or more on the controlled diet for fattening. The hams that are destined for Denomination of Origin from Teruel can only come from pigs that have been slaughtered in abattoirs registered by the Control Board. Before being transported, the pigs must undergo a fasting period of at least twelve hours. The transportation takes place in vehicles specially adapted so that the animals will not suffer from any pain or discomfort. Then, in the abattoir, they must pass a minimum of twelve hours before being slaughtered to elimintate the fatigue that they accumulate in their muscles during the journey and thus ensure the level of glycogen in the pig (for this they are given sugar water) and on being slaughtered, the pigs Denomination of Origin are marked with an permanent stamp and well numbered.
In the slaughter process the pigs must first be stunned so that they don't struggle and then they hung from their rear legs, head down. Then, the pigs throat is cut and it is bled, which must be done completely. When it comes to the airing stage, the carcass of the pig must be left for at least four hours at 10 º C maximum and the relative humidity must be 90% during the first hour, and 80% the rest of the time. Then, the pig is passed for cutting the pieces of meat. During the transfer to the dryers, the legs of ham must be should be fresh at a temperature between -2 and 2 ° C, this is done in refrigerated vehicles.
The transportation of the meat must be carried out in refrigerated vehicles where they can be kept at a suitable temperature.
The cutting rooms may or may not be located in the same facilities as the slaughterhouse. This will determine whether the cutting will be done hot (while the animal is still warm) or cold. Normally, when they are located alongside the slaughterhouses, both cutting operations are done hot, and continue in the same chain process.
Cutting rooms can be on the same premises as the slaughterhouses or in other facilities.
The description of operations in the cutting room is:
The animals enter on hooks, open down the middle, to the cutting room. In this phase, the carcasses are cut into several parts for different commercial uses. Along the main line (where the carcasses are hung head down), they start cutting several lines where the carcasses are stripped of: head, ribs, spines, loins, bellies, front and rear legs. Several workers are employed in each of the cutting lines, cutting and separating the various commercial parts. Containers are placed at the end of the chain, where the remains are deposited (spine, tail ...)
The pigs enter the cutting room hung up on hooks, head down.
The main problems that we find is that a lot of meat waste is produced and there is an excess in water and energy consumption, as each day the equipment and the cutting rooms are cleaned. In addition all the water carries animal offal, fats, detergents, grease and disinfectant.
The pieces of meat are taken in refrigerated vehicles to where they are used.
Each part of the pig goes to a different site, depending on what you want to do with the piece of meat. And if the piece of meat is not going to be made into any product, it is taken to freezer rooms that preserves it well until it is used. The most commonly used product types are: products for fresh consumption, marinated products, smoked products, cured products, raw and cooked products; chopped or not chopped.