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Get approval from the Food Standards Agency (FSA) or the district council for operating plants that process or handle meat

You must get approval to operate a plant which processes or handles meat. In Northern Ireland, this comes from either the Food Standards Agency (FSA) or the district council, depending on what you’re doing.

How to apply

Contact FSA’s to get approval for:

  • slaughterhouses
  • farm slaughter facilities
  • cutting plants
  • game-handling establishments

The following establishments will also be approved by the FSA if they’re in the same place as the plants above:

  • coldstores
  • minced meat, meat preparation and mechanically separated meat establishments
  • processing plant
  • re-wrapping establishment

If these are not in the same place, they need to be approved separately by the district council.

Food Standards Agency Approvals Team
02890 417759
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An officer from the Veterinary Public Health Unit of the Department of Agriculture and Rural Development will check the application and make an appointment to inspect your premises.

‘Specified risk material’

Approved slaughterhouses and cutting plants need additional authorisation to remove ‘specified risk material’ (SRM) from cattle, sheep or goats, including the vertebral columns from cattle and the spinal cords from sheep and goats aged over 12 months or that have a permanent incisor erupted through the gum.

Fines and penalties

If you operate a meat plant without approval, you can be fined, imprisoned for up to 2 years, or both.