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Approval of food establishments in Northern Ireland: governance arrangements and approvals policy

Approval of food establishments in Northern Ireland policy: glossary

Northern Ireland specific

Definitions and abbreviations used in this guidance explained in full.

Definitions and abbreviations used in this guidance. Unless the legislation is stated within the given definition, this is an FSA interpretation of the term. Some definitions provide a legal reference in ‘quote marks’ and further FSA interpretation of the legislation is provided thereafter.


Agri-food Inspection Branch, Department of Agriculture, Environment and Rural Affairs.


Defined in Article 3 (30) of Regulation (EU) 2017/625 as ‘a systematic and independent examination to determine whether activities and the related results of such activities comply with planned arrangements and whether these arrangements are applied effectively and are suitable to achieve the objectives’.

Authorised officer

Defined in the Food Hygiene Regulations (Northern Ireland) 2006 as ‘in relation to an enforcement authority, means any person (whether or not an officer of the authority) who is authorised by them in writing, either generally or specially, to act in matters arising under the Hygiene Regulations’.  In the context of this guidance, the CA is the DCs.  

Cold store

Cold Store is not defined in food law. For the purposes of approval, the FSA considers a cold store to be a wholesale establishment, not forming an integral part of a slaughterhouse, cutting plant or game handling establishment, used for the storage under temperature controlled conditions of POAO intended for sale for human consumption.

Competent Authority

Has the meaning as defined in Article 3(3)(a) of Regulation (EU) 2017/625 to include ‘the central authorities of a Member State responsible for the organisation of official controls and of other official activities, in accordance with this Regulation and the rules referred to in Article 1(2);’

Cutting plant

Defined in Annex I, point 1.17 of Regulation (EC) No 853/2004 as ‘an establishment used for boning and/or cutting up meat’


Department of Agriculture, Environment and Rural Affairs


Department of Agriculture, Environment and Rural Affairs, Agri-food Inspection Branch


Department of Agriculture, Environment and Rural Affairs Veterinary Public Health Programme


District Council

Duly authorised representatives

Duly authorised representative is a person who is given the authority to stand in the place of the FBO in certain circumstances.


European Commission


European Union

Egg packing centre

Packing centre is defined in Annex I, point 5.4 of Regulation (EC) No 853/2004 to mean ‘an establishment where eggs are graded by quality and weight.’


Article 2(c) of Regulation (EC) No. 852/2004 defines an establishment as ‘means any unit of a food business’.

Food business

Defined by Article 3(2) of Regulation (EC) No. 178/2002 as ‘means any undertaking, whether for profit or not and whether public or private, carrying out any of the activities related to any stage of production, processing, and distribution of food’.

Food business operator (FBO)

Defined by Article 3(3) of Regulation (EC) No. 178/2002 as ‘the natural or legal persons responsible for ensuring that the requirements of food law are met within the food business under their control’.

Food law

‘food law’ as defined in Article 3, point 1 of Regulation 178/2002 means ‘the laws, regulations and administrative provisions governing food in general, and food safety in particular, whether at Community or national level; it covers any stage of production, processing and distribution of food, and also of feed produced for, or fed to, food-producing animals’.

Fresh meat

Fresh Meat is defined as Annex 1, point 1.10 as ‘that has not undergone any preserving process other than chilling, freezing or quick-freezing, including meat that is vacuum-wrapped or wrapped in a controlled atmosphere’.


Food Standards Agency (FSA) The central competent authority for food safety in England, Wales, and Northern Ireland.

Game handling establishment

‘Game-handling establishment’ is defined as ‘any establishment in which game and game meat obtained after hunting are prepared for placing on the market’ in Regulation (EC) No 853/2004.


Hazard Analysis and Critical Control Point (food safety management system)


A biological, chemical or physical agent in, or condition of, food or feed with the potential to cause an adverse health effect.

Health mark

A mark indicating that, when it was applied, official controls had been carried out in accordance with Regulation (EU) 2019/627. Health marks are only applied by the CA, under the supervision of an official veterinarian in slaughterhouses and game handling establishments. Their application to the carcases of domestic ungulates, farmed game mammals (with the exception of lagomorphs) and large wild game demonstrates that they have been deemed fit for human consumption. 

Hygiene regulations

The Food Hygiene Regulations (Northern Ireland) 2006, regulation 2 defines ‘”the Hygiene Regulations” means these Regulations and the Community Regulations’.  The Community Regulations are listed in The Food Hygiene Regulations (Northern Ireland) 2006.

Identification mark

A mark indicating that a POAO has been produced in an approved establishment in accordance with legal requirements.


The examination of establishments, animals and food, of their processing, of food business, of their management and productions systems, including finished product testing and feeding practices, and of their origin and destination of production inputs and outputs, in order to verify that all these items conform to legal requirements.

Integrated establishments

The term ‘integrated establishment’ is applied to FSA approved establishments in Northern Ireland that require hygiene official controls to be undertaken by both DAERA (on the behalf of the FSA) and the DC within a common curtilage, e.g., a cutting plant and a fishery products processor within the same approved establishment.

Raw liquid milk processors

An establishment pasteurising and or processing raw liquid milk to produce liquid dairy products.

Meat preparations

Defined in Regulation (EC) No 853/2004 Annex I, Point 1.15 as ‘fresh meat, including meat that has been reduced to fragments, which has had foodstuffs, seasonings or additives added to it or which has undergone processes insufficient to modify the internal muscle fibre structure of the meat and thus to eliminate the characteristics of fresh meat.’

Meat products

Meat products ‘means processed products resulting from the processing of meat or from the further processing of such processed products, so that the cut surface shows that the product no longer has the characteristics of fresh meat’ as defined in Point 7.1, Annex I of Regulation (EC) No 853/2004.

Mechanically separated meat (for MSM)

‘‘Mechanically separated meat’ or ‘MSM’ is defined in Point 1.14, Annex I of Regulation (EC) No 853/2004 as ‘the product obtained by removing meat from flesh bearing bones after boning or from poultry carcases, using mechanical means resulting in the loss or modification of the muscle fibre structure’.

Minced meat

Regulation (EC) No 853/2004, Annex I, Point 1.13 defines ‘Minced meat’ as ‘boned meat that has been minced into fragments and contains less than 1% salt’.

Member state

A state that is party to treaties of the EU and has thereby undertaken the privileges and obligations that EU membership entails.

Official controls

As defined by Article 2(1) of Regulation (EU) 2017/625 to mean ‘activities performed by the competent authorities, or by the delegated bodies or the natural persons to which certain official control tasks have been delegated in accordance with Regulation (EU) 2017/625 in order to verify compliance by the operators and that animals or goods meet the requirements laid down in the rules referred to in Article 1(2) of (EU) 2017/625, including for the issuance of an official certificate or official attestation’. 

Official Veterinarian

Regulation (EU) 2017/625, Article 3 (32) defines ‘official veterinarian means a veterinarian appointed by a competent authority, either as staff or otherwise, and appropriately qualified to perform official controls and other official activities in accordance with this Regulation and the relevant rules referred to in Article 1(2)’ of Regulation (EU) 2017/625.

Placing on the market

Regulation (EC) No 178/2004, Article 3, point 8 defines ‘placing on the market’ means the holding of food or feed for the purpose of sale, including offering for sale or any other form of transfer, whether free of charge or not, and the sale, distribution, and other forms of transfer themselves’.

Premises (also refer to definition of an 'establishment')

The Food Safety (Northern Ireland) Order 1991, Regulation 2 defines ‘“premises” as ‘includes any place, any vehicle, stall or moveable structure and, for such purposes as may be specified in an order, any ship or aircraft of a description so specified’.

Processed product

Defined by Article 2 (1)(o) of Regulation (EC) No. 852/2004 as ‘foodstuffs resulting from the processing of unprocessed products. These products may contain ingredients that are necessary for their manufacture or to give them specific characteristics’. 

Processing plant

An establishment where POAO are either treated, processed (heating, smoking, curing etc) and wrapped or undergoes one or more of those handling activities.

Products of animal origin (POAO)

Defined by Annex I of Regulation (EC) No. 853/2004 as ‘Products of animal origin means: 

  • food of animal origin, including honey and blood
  • live bivalve molluscs, live echinoderms, live tunicates and live marine gastropods intended for human consumption
  • other animals destined to be prepared with a view to being supplied live to the final consumer’

Regulation (EC) No. 178/2002

Regulation (EC) No.178/2002 laying down the general principles and requirements of food law, establishing the European Food Safety Authority and laying down procedures in matters of food safety

Regulation (EC) No. 852/2004

Regulation (EC) No. 852/2004 of the European Parliament and of the Council of 29 April 2004 on the hygiene of foodstuffs 

Regulation (EC) No. 853/2004

Regulation (EC) No. 853/2004 laying down specific hygiene rules for food of animal origin

Regulation (EC) No. 2017/625

Regulation (EU) 2017/625 of the European Parliament and of the Council of 15 March 2017 on official controls and other official activities performed to ensure the application of food and feed law, rules on animal health and welfare, plant health and plant protection products 


Defined in Article 3(7) of Regulation (EC) No. 178/2002 as ‘handling and/or processing of food and its storage at the point of sale or delivery to the final consumer, and includes distribution terminals, catering operations, factory canteens, institutional catering, restaurants and other similar food service operations, shops, supermarket distribution centres and wholesale outlets’.


A function of the probability of an adverse health effect and the severity of that effect, consequential to a hazard.

Re-packaging establishment

An establishment which removes wrapped foodstuffs from a second container and re-packages them without removing the initial wrapping which is in direct contact with the product.   

Re-wrapping establishment

An establishment that unwraps the initial wrapping or initial container, which is in direct contact with the product and then re-wraps the products.


In Regulation (EC) 853/2004, Annex I, Point 1.16. ‘Slaughterhouse’ means an establishment used for slaughtering and dressing animals, the meat of which is intended for human consumption’.

Stages of production, processing and distribution

Any stage, including import, from and including the primary production of a food, up to and including its storage, transport, sale or supply to the final consumer and, where relevant, the importation, production, manufacture, storage, transport, distribution, sale and supply of feed.


Regulation (EC) No 178/2002, Article 3 (15) defines ‘‘traceability’ means the ability to trace and follow a food, feed, food-producing animal or substance intended to be, or expected to be incorporated into a food or feed, through all stages of production, processing and distribution’

Treated stomachs, bladders and intestines

Regulation (EC) No 853/2004, Annex I, Point 7.9. ‘Treated stomachs, bladders and intestines means stomachs, bladders and intestines that have been submitted to a treatment such as salting, heating or drying after they have been obtained and after cleaning’.


A single undivided entity or whole.

Unprocessed products

Defined by Article 2 (1)(n) of Regulation (EC) No. 852/2004 as ’foodstuffs that have not undergone processing, and includes products that have been divided, parted, severed, sliced, boned, cut, minced, skinned, ground, cut, cleaned, trimmed, husked, milled, chilled,  frozen, deep frozen or thawed’.


Checking, by examination and the consideration of objective evidence, whether specified requirements have been fulfilled.

Wholesale market

Defined by Annex I of Regulation (EC) No. 853/2004 as 'a food business that includes several separate units which share common installations and sections where foodstuffs are sold to food business operators’.


The placing of a foodstuff in a wrapper or container in direct contact with the foodstuff concerned, and the wrapper or container itself. (Therefore, re-wrapping means the replacement of initial wrapping or initial container, which is in direct contact with the product.)