Producing and distributing food – guidance

Pig and beef carcase classification: if you don’t comply

What happens if an inspector finds you're breaking regulations on grading pig carcases or classifying beef carcases.

If a licensed abattoir doesn’t comply with the Beef and Pig Carcase Classification (England) Regulations 2010 (SI 2010/1090) (as amended) or the Beef and Pig Carcase Classification (Wales) Regulations 2011 (SI 2011/1826 (W. 198)), the Rural Payments Agency (RPA) can take a range of actions.

Types of enforcement action

RPA can take 4 levels of action:

  • deficiency notices - these are informal warnings giving you time to resolve the problem; you will get a verbal warning at the same time and sometimes a letter as well
  • enforcement notices - these are issued where the inspector finds the problem hasn’t been resolved when they visit again; the notice states the offence the inspector believes you are committing and specifies the measures you must take within a specific time; it also informs you of your right to appeal
  • penalty notices - these are issued if you don’t comply with an enforcement notice; a penalty notice imposes a fine and gives you 28 days to pay
  • criminal prosecution - if you don’t pay the fine imposed in the penalty notice; you can also be prosecuted if you fail to comply with an enforcement notice

If a high proportion of the carcases inspected are involved, or if you’ve committed an offence before, RPA can issue an enforcement notice without giving a deficiency notice first. The same goes for serious offences relating to a failure to notify, licences, and records and marks.

If you’ve committed 2 or more offences before, RPA can issue a penalty notice or initiate a prosecution straight away.

If an inspector finds more than 1 problem on a visit, RPA will consider each one separately. This means you could receive more than 1 notice after an inspection.

Fines

If RPA prosecutes you, and you’re convicted of an offence relating to marking or labelling carcases in a way that is likely to mislead, there is no limit to the fine the court can give you. Other offences carry potential fines of up to £5,000.

How to appeal

The only type of action you can appeal against is an enforcement notice. There are two ways to do this:

  • email or write to the Meat Technical Schemes team at RPA as soon as possible, enclosing any evidence that was not available during the inspection
  • make a complaint to a magistrates court, which can make an order revoking the notice

You have 1 month from the date of the enforcement notice to make a complaint to a magistrates court.

More information

The RPA Fixed Penalty Guidance (PDF, 28.5KB, 4 pages) provides further information on what RPA does when abattoirs breach the rules.

Contact

Email: MTS.Carlisle@rpa.gsi.gov.uk

Telephone: 03300 416508

Meat Technical Schemes team
Rural Payments Agency
Eden Bridge House
Lowther Street
Carlisle
CA3 8DX