The Beef Carcase Classification scheme: work as a classifier

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

Applies to England and Wales

A slaughterhouse must either have their own or use an externally qualified BCC licensed classifier if they slaughter more than 150 bovines aged 8 months or over 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.

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

The application process involves a test.

Apply for a licence

Fill in a licence application form (MTSA1) (PDF, 163 KB, 1 page), request one from an inspector at an inspection, or contact RPA directly.

Meat Technical Schemes

Rural Payments Agency
Eden Bridge House
Lowther Street


Telephone 03300 416508

After you send in your completed form, along with 2 passport-sized photos, an inspector from the Livestock and Meat Inspectorate (part of RPA) will check that you understand the principles of carcase classification.

If the inspector is satisfied that you are meeting the required standard, they will arrange for you to take a test which involves grading 40 carcases. If you pass the test, we will issue you a licence.

Follow-up checks

Once you’re working as a classifier, you must carry your licence with you at all times and show it to inspectors if they ask to see it.

Inspectors will check the standard of your work during their routine inspections. If you fail these assessments, your licence may be cancelled and you’ll have to take another test to prove you can meet the required standard.

When to send back your proficiency licence

You must notify RPA and send your licence back to the address above if:

  • your work no longer involves classifying carcases
  • you stop working for the employer named on your licence
  • you change your home address (if you’re self employed); RPA will change your address and return the licence to you.

If RPA asks you to return your licence for any other reason, you must do so.

Published 31 March 2014
Last updated 1 January 2021 + show all updates
  1. Accessible version of licence application form added

  2. Text reviewed and updated

  3. Updated MTSA1 form

  4. First published.