Minced meat, meat preparations and mechanically separated meat

The specific requirements for minced meat, meat preparations and mechanically separated meat are set out in Annex III, Section V of Regulation 853/2004:

Minced meat

Minced meat is defined in paragraph 1.13 of Annex 1 of the EU hygiene Regulation (EC) 853/2004 as “boned meat that has been minced into fragments and contains less than 1 % salt”.

The hygiene requirements for the production and handling of minced meat are set out in Section V, Annex III of the same hygiene regulation, 853/2004. The requirements for production establishments, for raw materials, for hygiene during and after production and for labelling are all provided.

With regards to the raw materials which may and may not be used for producing minced meat in approved establishments:

  • The meat must comply with the requirements for fresh meat and must derive from skeletal muscle, including adherent fatty tissues
  • It must not derive from scrap cutting and scrap trimmings, mechanically separated meat, meat containing bone fragments or skin, meat from the head (excepting the masseters), the non-muscular part of the linea alba, the region of the carpus and tarsus, bone scrapings and the muscles of the diaphragm

You may also find the following information useful:

Mechanically separated meat

Mechanically Separated Meat (MSM) is defined in paragraph 1.14 of Annex 1 of Regulation (EC) 853/2004 as “the product obtained by removing meat from flesh-bearing bones after boning or from poultry carcases, using mechanical means resulting in the loss or modification of the muscle fibre structure”.

MSM cannot, be produced from the bones of cows, sheep or goats and can only be produced from specific parts of poultry and pigs. The full hygiene requirements for the production and processing of MSM are set out in section V, Annex III of regulation (EC) 853/2004.

Read a summary of the legal requirements for the production of MSM.

Meat products

The specific requirements for meat products are set out in Annex III, Section VI of Regulation 853/2004:

‘Meat products’ are defined in Regulation (EC) No. 853/2004 as “processed products resulting from the processing of meat or from the further processing of such processed products, so that the cut surface shows that the product no longer has the characteristics of fresh meat”.

There are specific requirements relating to the production of meat products (which include meat pies, haggis, cooked sausages etc.) set out in food law.

All meat, including minced meat and meat preparations, used to produce meat product must meet the requirements for fresh meat. However, minced meat and meat preparations used to produce meat products need not satisfy other specific requirements of Section V.

Download our 'Fast Facts' sheet on Nitrates and Nitrites in processed meats.