Process of approval
We have a duty to inspect and, if appropriate, grant permission for premises to handle, process and manufacture products of animal origin, such as meat, dairy, eggs or fish.
This is called the process of approval.
Such premises must meet additional requirements because they involve more high-risk operations. This includes a detailed hazard analysis and critical control points plan to ensure the food business operator is controlling risks at critical points.
Additional paperwork regarding hygiene and safety of the food being processed will also need to be sent with the application form.
A food business operator will also have to ensure all food of animal origin has come from approved premises and, once approved, an identification mark will be applied to their products to demonstrate that it has come from an approved establishment.
Who needs to notify/apply
If a food business handles, makes and processes any of the products listed below, it may need approval:
- Meat and poultry – (other than primal cuts) whether fresh, frozen or cooked
- Meat products such as pies, sausage rolls, faggots, black pudding and bacon
- Raw or partially-cooked minced meat or meat preparations, such as sausages, burgers, marinated raw meat and kebab meat
- Fish and fish products, such as fish fingers, prawns, lobsters, crabs and crayfish, whether dead or alive
- Live bivalve molluscs
- Ready meals containing fish or meat
- Milk and dairy products such as butter, cream, cheese, yoghurt, ice-cream
- Frogs legs and snails
- Rendered animal fats and other animal by-products such as gelatine, collagen, stomachs, bladders and intestines
- Slaughter of animals and primal cuts of meat require approval from the Food Standards Agency. Further information and application forms are available.
Some premises may be exempt from being approved. Details can be found under the food law code of practice .
Before applying, we strongly recommended you contact our environmental health team. The law is complex and may result in unnecessary expense if advice isn't sought and discussed before completing an application. There's no charge for the approval process.
You can apply for approval online.
You can also apply to change your approval by completing the online form.
From application, we aim to give you a decision within eight weeks.
As part of the overall process, a conditional approval may be issued. If so, a further visit must be carried out by our staff within three months of the conditional approval being granted. This visit will be an inspection.
Tacit consent doesn't apply because of the need to ensure public safety. Food businesses must not start any business activity which requires approval unless they've received conditional or full approval from our commercial team. To start business without approval is an offence and the business is likely to be prosecuted.
If you haven't heard from us within 28 days, contact us.
If your application is refused, you can appeal. Contact us in the first instance.
A public register is held by the Food Standards Agency.