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Overview

You must be licensed by the Rural Payments Agency (RPA) Meat Technical Schemes to work as a beef carcase classifier.

The Beef Carcase Classification (BCC) scheme is the compulsory classification of adult beef carcases to an agreed standard so that a fair meat price can be set.

A slaughterhouse must either have their own or use an externally qualified BCC licensed classifier if they slaughter more than 75 adult beef cattle each week, on an average yearly basis. Smaller operations can join the scheme if they slaughter less cattle than this and the same regulations will apply.

Restrictions

You must pass a proficiency test organised by the RPA Livestock and Meat Inspectorate before you can apply for a BCC licence.

Conditions

Licensed beef carcase classifiers must classify, identify and weigh a bovine carcase within 1 hour of the animal being struck.

Where automated grading technology (ie ‘video imaging analysis’) fails to classify the carcase, the classification, identification and weighing must happen on the day of slaughter.

How to apply

Download and complete the application form to apply.

Send your application, along with 2 passport-sized photos and your ‘test pass’ paper, to the Meat Technical Schemes.

MTS Section
Rural Payments Agency
Eden Bridge House
Lowther Street
Carlisle
CA3 8D

Fines and penalties

Inspectors from the Livestock and Meat Inspectorate check slaughterhouses on behalf of MTS. Any slaughterhouse not following the BCC scheme properly can be issued with:

  • an enforcement notice telling the operator what they need to do to put things right within a certain time
  • a penalty notice, with a fine of up to £5,000 which must be paid within 28 days to avoid prosecution
  • a criminal prosecution, for not keeping to the terms of an enforcement or penalty notice

Further information for Scotland and Northern Ireland

The RPA Meat Technical Schemes section is for England and Wales only.

You must apply to the Scottish Government Rural Directorate (SGRD) and to the Department of Agriculture and Rural Development (DARDNI) in Northern Ireland for a licence.