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Health Marking and labelling

The official veterinarian (a veterinarian qualified in accordance with Regulation (EC) 854/2004 to act in such a capacity and appointed by the competent authority) is to supervise health marking and the marks used.

The health mark can only be applied to domestic ungulates (i.e. domestic bovine (including Bubalus and Bison species), porcine, ovine and caprine animals, and domestic solipeds) which have undergone ante-mortem and post-mortem inspection in accordance with Regulation (EC) 854/2004 and where there are no grounds for declaring the meat unfit for human consumption. However, the health mark may be applied before the results of any examination for trichinosis is available, if the official veterinarian is satisfied that meat from the animal concerned will be placed on the market only if the results are satisfactory;

Health-marking must take place on the external surface of the carcase, by stamping the mark in ink or hot branding, and in such a manner that, if carcases are cut into half carcases or quarters, or half carcases are cut into three pieces, each piece bears a health mark.

The health mark must be an oval mark at least 6.5 cm wide by 4.5 cm high bearing the following information in perfectly legible characters:

  • the mark must indicate name of the country in which the establishment is located, which may be written out in full in capitals or shown as a two-letter code in accordance with the relevant ISO standard. In the case of Ireland the code is IE, for other Member States the codes are BE, CZ, DK, DE, EE, GR, ES, FR, IT, CY, LV, LT, LU, HU, MT, NL, AT,
    PL, PT, SI, SK, FI, SE and UK
  • the mark must indicate the approval number of the slaughterhouse; and
  • when applied in a slaughterhouse within the Community, the mark must include the abbreviation CE, EC, EF, EG, EK, EY, ES, EÜ, EK, EB or WE';

Letters must be at least 0.8 cm high and figures at least 1 cm high. The dimensions and characters of the mark may be reduced for health marking of lamb, kids and piglets.

The colours used for health marking must be authorised in accordance with Community rules on the use of colouring substances in foodstuffs.

The health mark may also include an indication of the official veterinarian who carried out the health inspection of the meat.