Approval of meat plants

Authorities in all European Union Member States have to approve establishments that handle, prepare or produce products of animal origin, according to Regulation (EC) 853/2004.

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 gives you details of the tasks, responsibilities and duties of our staff and veterinary contractors in approved establishments. You can view the Manual for Official Controls (Scotland) here.

The Meat Industry Guide is hosted on

On this page you can see:

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 andmechanically 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. To apply for approval to operate as a slaughterhouse, cutting plant or game handling establishment, please email for an application pack or to download an application form here.  

Within 20 working days of receipt of a completed application form and required documentation, the Approvals team will 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.

Official Controls Charging – Approval of Establishments

As from the 1st May 2017, the undertaking of all approval activity in meat establishments is now charged at an hourly rate of £56.11, this will include time spent by the officer on preparation, visiting establishments and report writing (travel time is not directly chargeable to the individual FBO but is accounted for in the hourly charge). To find out more about charging please see information at the following link here.

Appealing a decision

You have a right to appeal to a sheriff against our decision, if the premises are refused approval. 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.

Related Publications/Resources