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Livestock Products - Pig Classification

Classification Pig leaning over a gate

From 1 January 1989 the UK, in common with all other EU Member States, was required to implement the EU pig grading scheme. This provides for the compulsory grading of pig carcases on the basis of their lean meat content in abattoirs slaughtering 200 pigs or more on a weekly basis.

The purpose of this scheme is to ensure uniform grading of pig carcases in order to guarantee producers fair payment based on the weight and composition of pigs delivered to the slaughterhouse. Member States must have authorised methods of determining estimated lean meat percentages in pig carcases. The UK has a number of authorised methods. All new methods must be approved by the European Commission.

In Scotland, grading inspections are carried out by the Scottish Government's Meat and Livestock Inspectors who visit premises to

  • inspect abattoirs slaughtering 200 pigs or more weekly on classification and dressing specifications at least once per quarter
  • cross check producer invoices with classification reports for accuracy