What requirements do I need to be aware of in relation to meat sold in my shop?

Meat Labelling  

From the 19th of January 2009 certain changes were made in relation to the labelling of beef and veal sold across the UK.

The Beef and Veal Labelling Regulations 2008 provide certain labelling requirements that must be adhered to when selling both beef and veal. If these labelling requirements are not adhered to then the meet must be removed from the market immediately.

To whom do the regulations apply to?

The Beef and Veal Labelling Regulations 2008 apply to each and every person involved in the production, slaughter, trade, import, wholesale or retail sale of bovine animals and of their meat.

Therefore the regulations apply to each and every person throughout the whole process of ensuring that this meat appears on the shopping shelves throughout the UK.

If you run a small shop which sells this kind of meat then you must comply with the regulations. If you do not then the meat should be removed from your shelves.

Should members of the public be made aware of the requirements?

As a member of the general public it is always good practice to be aware of any requirements in relation to the meat which you are purchasing in order to be fully aware of what it is you are buying.

What are the requirements which must be adhered to?

From the 1 July 2008 all UK operators must, at the time of slaughter of bovine animals aged 12 months or less, classify and label the meat, including offal, according to one of two sub-categories. This mark will therefore identify the age of the animal and furthermore the permitted sales description of the meat contained therein.

The categories of meat are as follows:
  • Category V – this category is for meat from animals aged eight months or less. Meat from within this category must be called veal.
  • Category Z – this category is for meat from animals aged over eight months but not more than twelve months. Meat from this category must be called beef.

The point of the law contained within these regulations is in order to prohibit the use of the term veal to describe meat from older calves which have been slaughtered between 8-12 months.

Is any additional information allowed to be added to the label?

Any additional information including the fat content etc can be included on the label. The above requirements however must be complied with.

When must the meat be labelled?

There are different requirements in relation to when the meat should be labelled depending upon which stage of the process you are involved in. Requirements are placed upon the following people involved in the production, marketing and selling of beef and veal:

  • Food operators
  • Importers
  • Retailers

Food Operators

A food operator must label the meat at each stage of the production and the marketing processes stating the age of the animal at the slaughter and describing it as either beef or veal in accordance with the above requirements.

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For more information on:

  • Importers
  • Retailers
  • Who enforces these Regulations?
  • What powers do the enforcement authorities have under the Regulations?
  • As a retailer what will happen if I am found to have breached the Regulations?
  • What happens if I fail to comply with the enforcement notice?
  • As a consumer is there anything else I should be aware of?