Stein Collectors International
Featured Stein: June 2023

The Fleischbeschauer (Meat Inspector) Occupational Stein
by George Schamberger

I saw this rare occupational stein on German eBay. The Fleischbeschauer (meat inspectors) did not have their own Wappen (coat-of-arms), so the original owner of this stein used the butcher's Wappen.

I grew up in my parents' small butcher/sausage shop in Germany where between 1948 and 1951 I learned the trade. I became a Master in 1955, and I had frequent contact with the Fleischbeschauer.

Meat inspection services are intended to protect the consumer from disease, and Fleischbeschauer were known since the 15th Century. When animals were slaughtered for food, the local Fleischbeschauer had to inspect the meat. His job was to look at the slaughtered animal, especially the innards, to check for Trichinella, or roundworms. A small piece of meat from close to the heart was pressed between two glass plates and examined under a microscope for these parasitic worms, which are only 1mm long. (In my many years in the meat business I never encountered Trichinella.)

There were many farmers and small butcher shops throughout Germany, and they all required the services of the Fleischbeschauer. It took six months of training to learn how to perform this duty, and when he/she completed training they were issued two glass plates and a pair of scissors. In the sparsely settled countryside this was a part time job. If a Fleischbeschauer was not available when an animal was slaughtered, a veterinarian had to be called.

In my experience the Fleischbeschauer was usually happy to be called. Perhaps this was because most butcher shops in town as well as the local farmers distilled their own booze. After performing his tasks, if all was OK, the Fleischbeschauer stamped the meat, indicating it was approved for butchering. Of course, this was cause for celebration, and the Fleischbeschauer often enjoyed a shot or two of homemade booze.

The words across the top of the stein - Hoch leben die Fleischbeschauer - translate as "Long live the meat inspector." The butcher's Wappen, adapted for use by the Fleischbeschauer, consists of an ox head and two crossed meat cleavers. The original owner of this stein was also a beekeeper, indicated by the bee above the helm of the coat-of-arms. Above that is a sprig from a spice-plant.

Don't forget, the only Occupational Stein book authored by Phil Masenheimer with all the history about the Occupations in high gloss paper 429 pages, a must for Stein collectors. Available directly from the author (

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