butcher meat
Information for butchers, and people working in butchers' shops to help recognise food safety risks, develop procedures to manage food safety and keep food safe.

Food safety management procedures

All food businesses must develop documented food safety management procedures based on HACCP, this means that businesses must identify where risks to food safety could occur and how they will control those risks.

In premises that have higher risks, such as butchers handling raw and cooked food, more rigorous procedures will be required with more in depth monitoring and recording requirements. The HACCP Review and Guidance Manual for Retail Butchers, produced by the Meat Training Council (MTC), will provide a good starting point to developing your own tailor-made procedures. Details of how to order the pack are available on the MTC website.

It should be noted that packs such as the FSA's Safer food, better business (SFBB) are not appropriate to manage food safety in butchers’ shops where raw meat and ready-to-eat foods are handled. A good HACCP-based food safety management system should:

  • be integral to the businesses and all members of staff should understand the requirements and what they have to do
  • be tailor made to the needs of the business
  • include procedures for all food activities
  • have procedures that are simple yet comprehensive


What to include

Butchers’ shops will require more in depth record keeping than lower risk food businesses, and the extent and detail of these records will vary depending on the specific activities carried out.

All activities that could affect food safety should be considered when developing food safety management procedures, including how they are carried out in your premises and how these activities can be managed to ensure food safety. These include:

  • cooking, cooling and subsequent storage times and temperatures
  • controlling cross-contamination from:
    • processes such as slicing and vacuum packing
    • pests
    • waste
  • cleaning and disinfection arrangements
  • personal hygiene requirements
  • water quality
  • management of food safety activities, such as:
    • details of suppliers and other traceability arrangements
    • staff training
    • complaints
  • maintenance of equipment, including calibration (accuracy) of temperature monitors

A record of this information should be held along with a summary of the types and volume of products produced and the processes used and a plan of establishment showing layout, location of equipment with direction of food flow.


The Agency provides resources to help food businesses comply with food hygiene legislation. These include:

  • Reducing the risk from E. coli O157 – controlling cross-contamination
  • Guidance on the safety and shelf-life of vacuum and modified atmosphere packed chilled food
  • E. coli O157 – A butchers’ guide to staying safe. This DVD highlights the specific risks involved in butchers’ premises and concentrates on three key areas:
    • the threat of E. coli O157 to businesses and their customers
    • the importance of separation in controlling cross-contamination by E.coli
    • the role of documented food safety management procedures in ensuring food safety

These and other resources can be found at the links below. If you would like to order a copy of the DVD, call Food Standards Agency Publications on 0845 606 0667 or email foodstandards@ecgroup.co.uk.

For more help in determining food safety management procedures appropriate to your business, you may want to speak to your local authority food safety officers, or FSA officials where the FSA is the enforcing authority.

*The butcher 'Meat like it used to be' that features in the DVD is no longer a member of the Q Guild of butchers.

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