Apply for approval to operate as a meat establishment

Your meat plant must be approved by the FSA before it can operate – except if there is a specific exemption. This applies to slaughterhouses (abattoirs), cutting plants and game handling establishments.

Any co-located coldstore, minced meat, meat preparation or meat products establishment also needs FSA approval (if a standalone establishment, this needs to be approved by your local authority).

Apply for approval (no fee applies)

Slaughterhouses, cutting plants and game handling establishments require veterinary control and must be approved by the FSA.

To apply for approval, you can either:

  • apply online at GOV.UK (see links on this page)
  • download and complete one of the application forms below

There is no fee for the application and approval process.

When we have received your application, one of our veterinary officials will contact you within two weeks to arrange a suitable date to visit the establishment.

Assessment visit

The visit will cover all structural, equipment and hygiene requirements. Your businesses will have to meet all the relevant legal requirements of both Regulation (EC) No 852/2004 and Regulation (EC) No 853/2004.

A food business cannot be considered to be approved until:

  • the approval assessment has taken place
  • a recommendation is made by the FSA veterinary official
  • the approval documentation has been issued to the food business operator

Right to appeal

You have a right to appeal against the FSA’s decision if the premises are refused approval. Regulation 12 of the Official Feed and Food Controls Regulations 2009 (as amended) provides that any person who is aggrieved by a decision taken by the FSA in respect of an establishment subject to approval may appeal to a Magistrates Court. The time limit for lodging an appeal is one month from the date on which a notice of the decision is served on the person wanting to appeal.

Contact us

England and Wales
Approvals Team
Food Standards Agency
Room 112 Kings Pool
1-2 Peasholme Green
York YO1 7PR

tel: 01904 232060

Northern Ireland
NI Approvals Team
Food Standards Agency
10a-c Clarendon Road
Belfast BT1 3BG

tel: 02890 417700

More in this section

Cutting plants authorised to remove SRM

Vertebral column in cattle older than 30 months and spinal cord in sheep and goats over 12 months of age or with a permanent incisor erupted is specified risk material (SRM).

Slaughter licensing and animal welfare

Individuals carrying out certain slaughter operations must hold a Certificate of Competence for the operations they perform. Under EU regulations, full responsibility for animal welfare and food safety in slaughterhouses rests with business operators who must meet legislative requirements in terms of slaughterhouse design, layout and equipment.

FSA work in approved premises

The Food Standards Agency protects public health and animal health and welfare in Britain by providing verification, audit, and meat inspection services in approved fresh meat premises throughout England, Scotland and Wales. The FSA does this on demand, 24 hours a day, 365 days a year.

Approved Food Establishments

Establishments handling, preparing or producing products of animal origin for which requirements are laid down in Regulation (EC) No 853/2004, must be approved by the competent authority in accordance with Article 3 of Regulation (EC) No 854/2004 and Article 4 of Regulation 853/2004.