Approval of meat plants

Authorities in all European Union Member States have to approve establishments that handle, prepare or produce products of animal origin.

Approval of meat plants

Member states must also publish lists of these approved establishments, each corresponding to a different food sector. Under food hygiene legislation, meat plants require our approval to operate, unless they benefit from specific exemptions.

We’re responsible for approving slaughterhouses, cutting plants and game handling establishments, as those facilities require the presence of an Official Veterinarian. If a plant also has on-site cold stores, minced meat, meat preparation or meat products establishments, we need to approve these too. However, if they’re stand-alone establishments, your local authority will assess them.

Manual for Official Controls

The Manual for Official Controls (MOC) gives you details of the tasks, responsibilities and duties of our staff and veterinary contractors in approved establishments.

Download the Meat Industry Guide from the Food Standards Agency website.

For premises approved by Local Authorities, visit our Local Authority Approvals page.

Approved premises in Scotland

Food Standards Scotland Approve premises under the following categories:

  • Meat of domestic ungulates
  • Meat from poultry and lagomorphs
  • Meat of farmed game
  • Wild game meat
  • Meat, minced meat and mechanically separated meat

See the latest lists of Approved Premises

Applying for approval

A food business can’t be considered for approval until we’ve carried out an assessment, a veterinary manager has made a recommendation, and the approval documentation has been issued to the food business operator. The application and approval processes are free of charge.

To apply for approval to operate as a slaughterhouse, cutting plant or game handling establishment, please download the form or email for an applicationpack.. When we receive your completed application form, a veterinary manager will contact you within four weeks to arrange a suitable date to visit the establishment. The assessment visit will cover all structural, equipment, HACCP and hygiene requirements, and food businesses will have to meet all the relevant legal requirements of both Regulation (EC) No 852/2004 and Regulation (EC) No 853/2004.

Appealing a decision

If the premises are refused approval, you have a right to appeal to a sheriff against our decision.. This is in accordance with Regulation 12 of the Official Feed and Food Controls Regulations 2009, as amended. The time limit for lodging an appeal is one month from the date of the decision.

Operations team
4th Floor
Food Standards Scotland
Pilgrim House
Old Ford Road
Aberdeen AB11 5RL

Tel: 01224 285100

Withdrawal of approval

We need to ensure that all food business operators of approved meat establishments are producing meat safely. Where we find this is not the case, we can recommend prompt withdrawal of approvals as the ultimate sanction.

In this section

Approved premises inspections

Our verification, audit and meat inspection services protect public and animal health and welfare in Scotland.

Change of Food Business Operator

Information for changes to food business operators (FBO).

Official controls in approved meat premises

Our role is to make sure Scotland’s meat industry protects public health, and pays due consideration to the health and welfare of animals at slaughter.

Meat Industry Guide

The Meat Industry Guide (MIG) assists UK meat plant operators whose premises require approval and veterinary control under the European Union Food Hygiene Regulations.


We ensure that animals are protected prior to and during slaughter and killing.

Meat products

Requirements for producing meat products, including wild game.

Food chain information

All slaughterhouse operators in Scotland are bound by EU food hygiene legislation to request, receive, check and act on food chain information.

Animal disease

Cattle, sheep and goats are susceptible to a group of brain diseases known as transmissible spongiform encephalopathies (TSEs).

More on this topic

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Imports & Exports

If you’re importing or exporting food, you need to comply with regulations. Failure to do so could cause enforcement authorities to take action.

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