Proposed introduction of mandatory sheep carcase classification: consultation

Consultation on the proposed introduction of mandatory sheep carcase classification and price reporting.

Annex A

Additional related information

In addition to the introduction of the mandatory sheep carcase classification please note that as a result of EU regulation changes, under the Commission Delegated Regulation ( EU) 2017/1182 we intend to amend the Beef and Pig Carcase Classification (Scotland) Regulations 2010. Amongst these changes is a change is to raise the threshold for abattoirs compulsory classifying from 75 to 150 for cattle and from 200 to 500 pigs slaughtered per week. This will have very little effect on abattoirs as we are aware there is only one beef and one pig abattoir this would affect, who have already confirmed they will continue to classify. We propose that these amendments/rewrite of the Beef and Pig Carcase Classification (Scotland) Regulations 2010 would come into force on the 15 July 2018 as with the introduction of the sheep carcase classification into one legislative instrument.

SEUROP Classification system

the SEUROP classification basis is as shown below

Conformation classes – S, E, U, R, O and P

Fat classes – 1, 2, 3L, 3H, 4L, 4H and 5

The union scales for the classification of sheep carcases are as follows -

The definitions of "carcase" and "half-carcase"

1. "carcase" means the whole body of a slaughtered animal as presented after bleeding, evisceration and skinning;

2. "half-carcase" means the product obtained by separating the carcase symmetrically through the middle of each cervical, dorsal, lumbar and sacral vertebra and through the middle of the sternum and the ischiopubic symphysis..


The carcases shall be divided into the following categories:

A: carcases of sheep under 12 months old, New Season Lambs ( NSL).

B: carcases of other sheep. Older Season Lambs ( OSL).


The carcases shall be classified by successive assessment of:

1. Conformation, defined as follows: - Development of carcase profiles, in particular the essential parts (hindquarter, back, shoulder)

Conformation class and Description

S Superior - profiles extremely convex; exceptional muscle development (double muscled carcase type)

E Excellent - All profiles convex to super-convex; exceptional muscle development

U Very good - Profiles on the whole convex, very good muscle development

R Good - Profiles on the whole straight; good muscle development

O Fair - Profiles straight to concave; average muscle development

P Poor - All profiles concave to very concave; poor muscle development

Fat cover

1 low - None up to low fat cover

2 slight - Slight fat cover, flesh visible almost everywhere

3 average -Flesh with the exception of the hindquarter and shoulder, almost everywhere covered with fat, slight deposits of fat in the thoracic cavity

4 high - Flesh covered with fat, but on the hindquarter and shoulder still partly visible, some distinctive fat deposits in the thoracic cavity

5 very high - Entire carcase covered with fat; heavy deposits in the thoracic cavity


Carcases and half-carcases shall be presented without the head (severed at the atlantooccipital joint), the feet (severed at the carpometacarpal or tarso-metatarsal joints), the tail (severed between the sixth and seventh caudal vertebrae), the udder, the genitalia, the liver and the pluck. Kidneys and kidney fat are included in the carcase.

Identification of carcases

Classified carcases and half-carcases shall be identified by marking or labelling.


Take part in the consultation.

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