This advice is designed to provide basic guidance to traders. It is not a complete or authoritative statement of the law. A large print version is available.
This information is relevant to you if sell your own meat direct to the customer from your farm or through a farmers market.
Note: If you intend to sell your meat through another retailer there are different requirements, in particular your meat and meat products will need to be fully labelled and you may need to be ‘Approved’ by your local Environmental Health Department. Please ask for further advice.
To describe the meat as your own you need to ensure that the carcasses and cuts of offal etc. that you collect from the slaughterhouse are all traceable back to your animals. Some slaughter facilities offer special arrangements to ensure this. In relation to cattle, there are special traceability provisions and you should be provided with this traceability information usually on a label attached to the carcase. (see Beef Labelling section).
You may have facilities to cut & pack your meat or you may arrange for someone to do this for you i.e. your local butcher. You will need to ensure that the premises where this takes place is ‘Registered’ with or ‘Approved’ by your local Environmental Health Department who will wish to be satisfied that the facilities are suitable and safe for use for this purpose. If in doubt you should seek advice from them.
The law applies to meat & poultry whether fresh, chilled, frozen, salted, cooked or processed. Meat includes: any part of an animal of the following descriptions – cattle, sheep & swine.
In general meat & poultry must be sold by metric weight. You may state the imperial equivalent in addition, if you wish.
The customer must be informed of the net weight of the goods before paying for and receiving them. (i.e. the weight of meat excluding any wrapper or container). This can be done either by:
weighing the goods in front of the customer, so that he/she has a clear, unobstructed view of the weighing and the weight indication on the scales;
marking the weight on a separate ticket (if not pre-packed); or
making a verbal statement of the weight (if the goods are not immediately taken away this statement of weight must be given in writing);
Joints and cuts which are prepacked should have the net weight clearly marked on a label on the pack.
If you sell a whole /half or quarter animal (already cut into joints or cuts of meat) you only need to give the total weight. It is not necessary to give the individual weight of each cut unless you wish to do so.
If you supply boned and trimmed meat by the whole, half or quarter animal, or dressed poultry, you must make it clear if the unit price and declared weight(s) are based upon finished trimmed meat or on the carcase/bird before preparation. Experience has shown that customers often do not understand that the purchase price may be based on the unprepared weight of the goods and mistakenly think they have been given 'short weight'
All weights must be determined on a weighing machine which is suitable for trade use and either EC verified or UK crown stamped.
A price indication is required to be given for all meat & poultry for sale. This must be in writing, unambiguous and legible.
Where prepacked the pack selling price must be given. Packs sold individually should be individually labelled with this information. However for whole or part carcasses or box selections sold together only the whole pack prices need be given.
A unit price (price per kg) must also be given. This may be marked on the packs or on a ticket notice or price list in close proximity to the goods. The imperial equivalent may also be given but it must not be more prominent than the metric marking. Where products are all prepacked to the same weight (e.g. Mince), then only a pack weight and selling price need be given.
Cuts of meat must be clearly labelled with an accurate description to distinguish them e.g. topside of beef, pork loin chops, lamb cutlets.
Prepared meat products (i.e. boned rolled and stuffed joints; sausages; BBQ seasoned or flavour glazed meats) must have a full descriptive name to distinguish them e.g. pork & leek sausages, minted lamb burgers.
In addition such meat products must be labelled with the percentage (%) of each species of meat they contain and the category name of any of the following categories of additives if present –
e.g. Pork and Beef Sausage 40 % pork 35 % beef. Contains antioxidant, preservative & colour
These require specific traceability information to be given to the customer when beef is sold. This can be labelled on the pack or supplied on an invoice or receipt.
The specific information is:-
Slaughtered in (SL) UK + slaughterhouse number
Cut In UK + cutting plant number/butcher reference number
(this could be the ear tag or other traceable reference number).
Raw meat is designated as category 3 waste and must be disposed of accordingly. It must not be disposed of with your domestic waste or buried. It must be collected by a licensed carrier for disposal by rendering, incineration, conversion at an approved biogas or composting plant, or by other approved means.
Such category 3 waste must be stored separately in a dedicated container which must be clean, lidded or sealed and labelled “Category 3 waste not for human consumption”. If it becomes mixed with any other waste ALL must be treated as category 3 waste.
Licensed carriers will give a receipt specifying the waste taken. These receipts must be kept for 2 years.