Official controls in approved meat premises

The Food Standards Agency is responsible for meat inspection duties in approved meat premises in England, Scotland and Wales. It is the role of the Agency to help ensure that the meat industry safeguards the health of the public, and the health and welfare of animals at slaughter.

To achieve this, the FSA delivers 'official controls' in approved meat premises. The FSA is the central competent authority in the UK responsible for carrying out official controls. These controls require specified inspections of all animals, carcasses and offal through risk-based audits to verify that approved fresh meat premises comply with EU Food Hygiene Regulations.

The FSA also undertakes official controls on behalf of Defra on animal health and welfare (see link below) to ensure compliance with legislative requirements.

The FSA carries out these controls in slaughterhouses, cutting premises, farmed and wild game facilities and co-located minced meat and meat products premises.

For information about the Meat Hygiene Service, which merged with the FSA on 1 April 2010, see the meat and meat hygiene archive.

More in this section

  • How the FSA works with the meat industry

    The Food Standards Agency operational workforce protects public health and animal welfare in approved premises in Britain.

  • Manual for Official Controls

    The Manual for Official Controls provides details of the tasks, responsibilities and duties Food Standards Agency (FSA) staff and veterinary contractors undertake in approved establishments.

  • Charges for official controls in meat premises ('The Charges Guide')

    The Food Standards Agency provides a range of services in approved meat premises across Great Britain. Some of these services are currently paid for by other Government departments, for example, checks on animal by product controls. Other services are charged to food business operators (FBOs).

  • Audit of meat establishments

    The FSA carries out routine audits of approved meat establishments (that is slaughterhouses, cutting plants and game handling establishments) in Great Britain. In Northern Ireland, these audits are carried out by the Department of Agriculture and Rural Development (DARD) on behalf of the FSA.

  • Meat hygiene official controls cost data

    Information on the costs of delivering meat hygiene official controls in meat premises in Britain for the financial year 2014/15. This information will enable anyone with an interest in this area to see the breakdown of costs and understand how charges to industry are calculated.

  • Meat operations delivery annual report

    The FSA Operations Group has reported on its meat operations delivery for the period 2010/11. This report gives a comprehensive overview of how official controls are delivered in meat premises.

  • Review of official meat controls

    The Food Standards Agency (FSA) is reviewing the current system of meat hygiene inspection in slaughterhouses. Meat controls are currently based on a traditional inspection approach developed more than 100 years ago to tackle the public health concerns of that era, such as parasites and defects visible to the naked eye. Today, the main cause of foodborne disease is microbiological.