Under Regulation (EC) 853/2004, Annex III, Section I, Chapter VII paragraphs 1 to 3 the Food Standards Agency (FSA) may authorise slaughterhouses to transport warm meat from domestic ungulates.
EU hygiene legislation requires meat to attain a certain temperature (7ºC), arrived at by a continuous decrease in temperature following the slaughter and dressing process in slaughterhouses. This temperature must also be maintained during storage and transport. Exceptions in relation to transport are permitted provided the meat leaves the slaughterhouse immediately (a guideline 3 hour period from the completion of the post-mortem inspection of the first animal slaughtered to be transported warm, to the departure of the vehicle) and is subject to specific competent authority authorisation and a two hour time limit for transport to another establishment. Controlling the temperature and time is intended to inhibit bacterial growth and so protect public health.
The requirement for warm meat to leave the slaughterhouse immediately should be interpreted to mean that transport should commence immediately after activity in the slaughterhouse on the meat has ceased, with such activity including, where relevant, cutting in a co-located cutting plant.
Meat that is partially chilled does not have to leave the premises immediately but must adhere to the 2 hour transport rule.
Food business operators wishing to transport warm meat must seek permission from the Food Standards Agency.