Transportation of warm (above temperature) meat

Food Standards Scotland’s revised policy on the transportation of warm (above temperature) red meat of cattle, pigs, sheep, goats and other domestic ungulates from the slaughterhouse applied from 2 March 2015. Food business operators in Scotland wishing to transport warm meat must seek authorisation from Food Standards Scotland (FSS).

To apply for an authorisation for the transport of warm meat please contact your FSS Official Veterinarian, who can advise you on the steps of the application process.

The revision aligns policy in Scotland more closely with the requirements stipulated under EU law.  The revised policy also applies to slaughterhouses in England, Wales and Northern Ireland under Food Standards Agency control.

In summary, the revised policy means that:

  • The authorisation will need to record the names and addresses of the establishments which will receive the warm meat and the species of animal and the estimated number of carcasses to be transported to each receiving establishment on any one occasion.  A general description of the products to be produced when the warm meat is delivered will also be required, but this may be in general terms such as cuts of lamb, pork, etc, or some other description of the intended end product.

  • Under the provision for the transport of warm meat, un-chilled meat must leave the slaughterhouse immediately.  As a guideline to interpretation of the word ‘immediately’, a three-hour period from the completion of the post-mortem inspection of the first animal slaughtered to be transported warm to departure of the vehicle will be allowed.

  • All carcasses and meat that are transported warm from the slaughterhouse are subject to a maximum journey of no more than two hours’ duration. Controlling the temperature and time is intended to inhibit bacterial growth and so protect public health.

  • If the meat has been partially chilled but has not reached the required temperature of 7ºC (carcass) or 3ºC (offal), there is no requirement for it to leave the slaughterhouse ‘immediately’. However, the meat will still be subject to a maximum period of two hours transport from the slaughterhouse and this must take place in refrigerated transport so that the chill curve is maintained.

  • The chilling of meat to reach legally required temperatures for red meat and offal en route to places of destination of more than two hours’ duration will no longer be permitted.