2013 2014
Produced  (t) 9892 10100
Domestic sale  (t) 6623 6588
Export  (t) 2793 3441



Domestic sheep have been reared in Iceland since the time of early Norse settlement. Sheep have many good qualities as a domestic animal and provide a range of useful products, especially to societies living in difficult environments. Muscle, fat, some organs and the milk can all be consumed while the wool is spun into a strong yarn to make clothes, blankets and more. Historically, and still today in some societies, the bones, horns, tendons and intestines have all had various uses. Many societies are still highly dependent on farming sheep. In industrialised societies breeding has further changed sheep breeds to meet modern needs and increase the yield of the most valuable products. In Iceland the meat and, to a lesser extent, wool are the most important.


Standard lamb carcase cuts in Iceland

The standard carcass butchering is described in Regulation 484/1998.


  • Head removed with the first vertebrae.
  • Feet removed at the knee joint.
  • Flay so the carcass membrane remains the most complete.
  • No bile contamination, hair or other dirt on the carcass.
  • Tail removed at the base.
  • Udder or testes are removed along with fat around.
  • Penis removed at the base behind the pubic bone.
  • Groin band removed with gland and fat.
  • Fat trimmed with abdominal incision, flank otherwise intact.
  • Diaphragm removed so about 5 mm is left behind.
  • Kidney removed along with suet and clots from the thorax.
  • Blood vessels with fat within the loin are removed.
  • Solid fat on ribs and between ribs are left intact.
  • Glands, particles and clots at the thorax opening are removed.
  • Blood vessels and clots removed from the neck.
  • Splitting of the breastbone is optional.

Whole carcass as it arrives from abattoirs, frozen or unfrozen.

7 part division LS1.1

Two legs, two forequarters, two flanks and whole loin. Legs are sawn from the loin by a straight cut between the 6th and 7th sacral vertebrae and the forequarter are cut from the saddle between 6th and 7th ribs. The loin is cut from the flanks at 12 cm from the centre line. Short or long loin and flank cuts can be taken, giving bigger or smaller forequarters respectively.

9 part division LS1.2

Short loin, long loin and flanks forequarter is split and shoulders are cut off. Cut from unfrozen, untied carcass. The leg is removed from the loin between the 1st and 2nd sacral vertebrae. Shoulders are cut from forequarter. The 13th rib remains with the loin and the neck is removed in a straight line parallel to the shoulder. Flanks are removed from the loin at the specified distance of 9 cm from the loin muscle down to the cranial end, measured at the 11th rib.  Tail bone joint remains with the loin.

Pistola sawing LS1.3

Carcass can be split or whole. Leg and loin are kept together in one piece which is obtained from whole carcass by cutting the flanks and the forequarter between 4th and 5th ribs. The lower limits of the loin are 8-12 cm from the midline. The flank is cut from the leg.

Senda slóð til vinar