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Beef Carcase Classification


Q1 What does BCC stand for?
A1 BCC stands for Beef Carcase Classification. The UK, in common with all other EC Member States is responsible for the implementation of the Beef Carcase Classification Scheme which provides for the compulsory classification of beef carcases on the basis of a combination of their fat cover and conformation profile and by category.

Q2 What is the purpose of Beef Carcase Classification Scheme?
A2 The purpose of the scheme is to ensure the uniform classification of beef carcases, so as to guarantee producers fair payment based on the community grading scale for adult bovine animals delivered to slaughterhouses. This classification is also intended to improve the transparency of the market in carcases to the benefit of all sectors of the industry.

Q3 Who is responsible for administering the BCC scheme in the UK?
A3 The RPA Meat Technical Schemes section (MTS) based in Carlisle administers the scheme for England & Wales. Scotland is covered by the Scottish Government Rural Directorate (SGRD) and Northern Ireland by the Department of Agriculture and Rural Affairs (DARDNI).

Q4 Who Carries out checks at slaughterhouse's to ensure compliance?
A4 Inspectors from the Livestock & Meat Inspectorate carry out these checks on behalf of MTS.

Q5 Are all slaughterhouse's in the UK bound by the BCC scheme?
A5 No. Only those slaughterhouse's that kill in excess of 75 adult bovine animals per week on a yearly average basis must classify their carcases and register with the RPA Meat Technical Schemes section. Throughput is monitored by MTS. However in England and Wales the Regulations allow that where a small scale operator (ie an abattoir which slaughter 75 adult bovine animals or less per week, on a yearly average basis) may choose to classify bovine carcases. However they will be required to classify all adult bovine carcases and comply with all the regulatory requirements and register under the scheme.

Q6 How are slaughterhouse's advised on BCC procedures?
A6 The RPA supply Guidance Notes and a grading scale chart produced by the commission, which shows fat cover and conformation profile.

Q7 How does the grading scale define fat cover?
A7 The fat cover is divided in 5 classes:-
1- Low, 2- Slight, 3- Average, 4- High, 5- Very high.

Q8 How does grading scale define conformation profile?
A8 The conformation is divided into 6 classes:-
S- Superior (not used in UK), E- Excellent, U- Very good, R- Good, O- Fair, P- Poor.

Q9 Who carries out the classification?
A9 Slaughterhouse's can carry out their own classification with suitably qualified staff or employ the services of another suitably qualified person/company who have the appropriate classification licences.

Q10 Do classifiers require licences?
A10 Yes. Prospective classifiers must undertake a test set by the L & M Inspectorate.

Q11 Who issues the BCC licence?
A11 On receipt of a BCC licence application form, passport size photo's and a passed test paper, the MTS section will issue a BCC licence to the relevant person/company.

Page published: 3 January 2014