I looking for a word, if exists, for a place where the animals like cow, pig and chicken are killed, cleaned and have its meat and parts processed into bagged foods like bacon, ham, beef, etc. In Portuguese we have a word "Frigorífico" for it, and translating this word I found theses meanings: Frigorific or Fridge. But, it seems to be incorrect to me.

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    A slaughterhouse or a meat packing plant could be what you're looking for.
    – Tushar Raj
    Commented Jan 27, 2017 at 12:32
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    On top of what tushar said consider also "meat processing plant"
    – P. O.
    Commented Jan 27, 2017 at 12:39
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    A shambles. That is the word in 1600 kjv bible
    – Kris
    Commented Jan 27, 2017 at 13:21
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    @Kris Except it's not a word than anyone 500 years later would use for this. Let's assume the OP is not a time-traveller from 1600. ;)
    – Graham
    Commented Jan 27, 2017 at 15:36
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    @sertage Please can you precise if you're writing for an average Joe or for people familiar with the industry (or educated people who would be willing to expand their vocabulary by looking up a word) . It 'll help get you a better answer.
    – P. O.
    Commented Jan 27, 2017 at 16:47

7 Answers 7


High-processing packinghouse

is the term you're looking for.

Here are the distinctions made in the Netherlands for all type of meat processing plants, from a governmental website.

Categories of slaughter-plants

Plants for red meat slaughtering may be categorized on the basis of the final products. A plant that processes meat into products such as canned, smoked and cured meats is significantly different from a plant with facilities for slaughtering without further processing.

Slaughterhouses and packinghouses (slaughtering and meat processing) may each be divided into two categories on the basis of the quantity of waste produced (EPA 1974).


  • Simple slaughterhouse:

A plant that slaughters animals and does a very limited amount of by-product processing. Its main products are fresh meat in the form of whole, half or quarter carcasses or in smaller meat cuts.

  • Complex slaughterhouse:

A plant that slaughters and does extensive processing of by-products. Usually at least three of the following operations take place: rendering, paunch and viscera handling, blood processing, and hide and hair processing.


  • Low-processing packinghouse:

A plant that both slaughters and processes fresh meat into cured, smoked, >canned and other meat products. Only the meat from animals slaughtered at the plant is processed. Carcasses may also be sold.

  • High-processing packinghouse:

A plant that also processes meat purchased from outside. Sometimes, a high- >process packinghouse has facilities for tanning operations.

There are also plants that do not slaughter themselves but restrict their activities to the processing of meat (meatpacking). These plants have a waste production comparable to that of a simple slaughterhouse.

It's also the official name in the US see this extract from Cornell Law School

For the purpose of this subpart: High-processing packinghouse means a packinghouse which processes both animals slaughtered at the site and additional carcasses from outside sources.

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    Perhaps the asker is looking for a technical term but I wouldn't expect a person who's not connected to the meat industry to have any clue at all what a "high-processing packinghouse" is. Indeed, if I went out on the street right now and started asking people "What's a high-processing packinghouse", I doubt anyone would even guess that it had anything to do with meat. Commented Jan 27, 2017 at 16:24
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    Slaughterhouse is the common-language umbrella term (in AmE).
    – zwol
    Commented Jan 27, 2017 at 16:33
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    This answer is terrible. Aside from the intelligibility concerns raised by other commenters, it's also too specific. It's like getting the question "what do you call physical exertion intended to increase physical fitness" and answering "one-handed push-ups" instead of "exercise". Commented Jan 27, 2017 at 17:44
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    I laughed when I saw this answer! "High-processing packinghouse" might as well be Martian as far as I'm concerned.
    – TonyK
    Commented Jan 27, 2017 at 23:39
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    There was absolutely nothing in the question about also processing meat purchased from outside, yet somehow, you felt the need to specifically include an adjective for that. Commented Jan 28, 2017 at 16:08

The UK National Careers Service gives these categories of workplaces and employee roles, which suggest how things are generally split up here.

  • abattoirs – as a slaughterman or woman, humanely killing and preparing livestock
  • wholesale meat factories – cutting, de-boning and preparing carcasses before they are sold to retailers
  • butcheries – specialising in preparing meat in line with instructions from caterers
  • meat or poultry processing plants – producing and packing products for the retail and catering industries

I'm not sure that we have one term which covers all eventualities. Individual establishments will also carry out different parts of the processing. My local abattoir calls itself an 'abattoir and cutting plant' and does basic butchery for small livestock producers who take in live stock and collect the boxed up bits a few weeks later after the meat has hung and been butchered, but other establishments will only take larger jobs and ship out as soon as the carcass is skinned and cleaned.

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    It is a very good answer, I think the word I am looking doesn't exists in English, because here in Brazil we have in a single, but big, company that embraces all of theses categories and on the other countries they do in different companies. Here is the website of one of them: brf-global.com/brasil
    – Sertage
    Commented Jan 27, 2017 at 13:00

Probably "meat packing plant" comes closest in the US, as it implies all stages of the preparation. "Slaughterhouse" could be interpreted as referring to only the front-end slaughter operation (though I vaguely recall that this is referred to as the "kill room" in the Hormel operation about 50 miles southwest of here).


One keeps food that must be chilled in a fridge, but animals are slaughtered at a slaughterhouse (compare matadouro in Portuguese: place for killing; in French, abattoir), after which their remains are then installed in refrigerated units to keep them cold so they don't rot as fast.

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    I think, by checking Google images for frigorífico, the OP means this type of factory cronica.com.py/wp-content/uploads/2016/05/10-f1-5.jpg
    – Mari-Lou A
    Commented Jan 27, 2017 at 12:39
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    @Mari-LouA - I'd be surprised if, at a slaughterhouse/abattoir, they just killed the animal and did nothing else to it. I suspect your factory photo is part of a slaughterhouse/abattoir.
    – AndyT
    Commented Jan 27, 2017 at 12:41
  • I think slaughterhouse just define a sector. I was looking at the website of one of this companies, and it seems they call themselves as food company. brf-global.com/brasil/en/about-brf#what-we-do
    – Sertage
    Commented Jan 27, 2017 at 12:43
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    @AndyT But the workers in the image don't actually do the killing/slaughtering, so I think there is a significant difference.
    – Mari-Lou A
    Commented Jan 27, 2017 at 12:43
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    @tchrist - "Abattoir" is also an English word. Personally I (living in South East England) hear it much more frequently than "slaughterhouse"; though dictionary.reference.com doesn't express a BrE preference for it, or an AmE preference for slaughterhouse. It didn't seem worth me posting it as a competing answer.
    – AndyT
    Commented Jan 27, 2017 at 12:44

In the UK we'd call it an abattoir

a place where animals are killed for their meat

Cambridge Dictionary


Since BRF S.A. was given as an example of the type of company you are looking to describe with this word, simple terms like abattoir or slaughterhouse are certainly not appropriate. This type of company is usually described as a conglomerate.

The word itself is not specific to the food industry, so in English this is specified with extra qualifiers in the phrase - ie (from the Wikipedia entry):

BRF, formerly Brasil Foods S.A. (BM&FBovespa: BRFS3 / NYSE: BRFS), is a Brazilian food conglomerate created from the merger of Sadia S.A. into Perdigão S.A.

The term Frigorífico is not standard Portuguese but is a specifically Brazillian term. The closest standard Portuguese term is Abatedouro, which is a cognate of abattoir. This doesn't seem to convey the same meaning of meat processing and distribution conglomerate, however, that you are looking for.

In fact, as best as I can tell, frigorífico actually means something more like an industrial meat packing plant rather than a food industry conglomerate like BRF. I would guess that a very large company like BRF would own many subsidiaries that you could call frigorífico, but the term seems too restrictive to describe the entire company. In fact, the Portuguese Wiki describes BRF as (emphasis mine):

A BRF [...] é um conglomerado brasileiro do ramo alimentício

It then goes on to describe several corporate acquisitions :

Em outubro de 2011 a BRF faz duas aquisições na Argentina, comprando as companhias Avex (empresa frigorifica) e Dánica (líder argentina na fabricação de Margarinas) por 150 milhões de dólares.[14][15]

So, BRF is big enough to have acquired several frigorífico companies, but itself is a larger organization, even producing goods like frozen foods, margarine, etc, that are well beyond the scope of purely meat products.


I would suggest Meat Locker as fitting this definition (although this may be a specific usage in the American Midwest).

As well as being the name for the actual cooler in which slaughtered meats are kept (similar to the "Frigorífico" translation), a meat locker can also refer to a facility that slaughters, processes, and sells cuts of meat and further processed products such as sausages, hams, and bacon. Some meat lockers also serve ready to eat foods, such as tenderloin sandwiches or barbecue, or offer additional services such as processing deer or wild pigs during hunting season.

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