Its principle objective is to ensure the hygienic production of meat and meat products while maintaining animal welfare at slaughter.
This role is undertaken by Meat Hygiene Inspectors (MHI) and Official Veterinary Surgeons (OVS) at meat plants and cold stores throughout Great Britain. They are supported by Meat Technicians at licensed fresh (red) meat plants and Poultry Inspection Assistants at licensed poultry meat plants.
MHIs carry out the post-mortem inspection of carcases, health marking and where necessary assist the OVS in ante-mortem inspections. Under the direction of the OVS, MHIs ensure that the necessary standards of hygiene are observed throughout the production process and assist in the monitoring of animal welfare standards. They also collect samples for the residues sampling and disease control programmes.
Fresh meat for sale for human consumption produced in licensed slaughterhouses must be stamped, marked or labelled with the MHS official health mark. The health mark stamp is the MHS`s guarantee to consumers and to Great Britain`s international trading partners that the meat is fit and wholesome and fulfils all regulatory standards.