Beef and veal labelling inspections
Inspectors will make unannounced visits to check that you’re complying with the rules for compulsory beef and veal labelling.
You could be inspected to check that you’re complying with the Compulsory Beef Labelling Scheme.
All inspectors are authorised by Defra and will be from:
- the Livestock and Meat Inspectorate of the Rural Payments Agency (RPA)
- local authority trading standards or environmental health
You won’t be given advance notice of an inspection.
You won’t necessarily be inspected every year.
If you’re inspected
You must give the inspector reasonable assistance and access to your records. It’s an offence to obstruct the inspector or refuse them entry to your premises.
RPA will not tolerate any violent, threatening or abusive behaviour towards its employees, either verbally, physically or in writing. RPA will take whatever action is necessary including fully supporting any prosecution of any person who exhibits such behaviour.
You must not supply inaccurate or misleading information. Unless you have reason to doubt its accuracy, you can assume that the information you receive under the beef labelling system when you buy beef from your suppliers is accurate.
What the inspector will check
The inspector may need to inspect:
- any fresh or frozen beef on the premises
- beef labels
They’ll also inspect your records to carry out traceability checks.
What happens at the end of the inspection
The inspector will complete a Report of Inspection Findings to record the result of the checks. You’ll be asked to sign a copy and this will be left with you.
Other notices may be issued depending on the inspection findings.
If the inspector finds something wrong
If the inspector finds something wrong, they will agree an action plan with you. This will tell you what needs to be done, and by when, to correct the non-compliance.
You’ll need to agree to the actions in the plan to avoid further sanctions. RPA will check your progress against the plan until you meet the rules.
An ‘enforcement notice’ will be served at the time of the inspection if the non-compliance found by the inspector:
- risks the traceability of a product and it can’t be put right, or
- you choose not to correct it at the time of inspection
If you are served with an enforcement notice, it will tell you to remove the beef immediately from sale.
It is an offence not to comply with the conditions of an enforcement notice and you could be fined.
If the beef can’t be re-labelled in line with the Beef Labelling Regulations, it may be sent directly for processing into products not detailed in Article 12 of Council Regulation (EC) 1760/2000. Or, it can be disposed of.
You may be allowed to place the meat back on the market if the non-compliance can be rectified and the veterinary and hygiene rules are met.