Pig and beef carcase classification: if you do not comply

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

Applies to England and Wales

If a licensed abattoir doesn’t comply with The Carcase Classification and Price Reporting (England) Regulations 2018 (SI 2018/1164) or The Carcase Classification and Price Reporting (Wales) Regulations 2018 (S.I. 2018 No. 1215(W0248)), the Rural Payments Agency (RPA) can take a range of actions.

Types of enforcement action

RPA can take 3 levels of action:

  • enforcement notices, which 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, 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 have committed an offence before, RPA can issue an enforcement notice without first giving a warning letter. The same goes for serious offences relating to a failure to notify, records and marks.

If you have committed two or more offences before, RPA can issue a penalty notice or initiate a prosecution straight away. If an inspector finds more than one problem on a visit, RPA will consider these separately for enforcement purposes. Thus you may receive more than one notice after an inspection.

If you feel there was evidence not seen during the inspection that may impact any enforcement please email or write to the Meat Technical Schemes team at RPA as soon as possible, enclosing the evidence.


If RPA prosecutes you, and you are convicted of an offence there is no limit to the fine the court can give you.

How to appeal

The only type of action you can appeal against is an enforcement notice. To do this, you must make an appeal 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 an appeal to a magistrates court.

More information

The RPA Fixed Penalty Guidance provides further information on what RPA does when abattoirs breach the rules.


Meat Technical Schemes

Rural Payments Agency
Eden Bridge House
Lowther Street


Telephone 03300 416508

Updates to this page

Published 31 March 2014
Last updated 4 August 2020 + show all updates
  1. Added in link to Fixed Penalty Guidance page

  2. Text reviewed and updated

  3. First published.

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