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How to become a Meat Inspector

Meat Inspector

What does a Meat Inspector do?

Meat inspectors, also known as meat hygiene inspectors, are responsible for checking and certifying meat under current meat inspection and hygiene legislation. They may already have experience of working in the meat industry, perhaps in an abattoir or meat processing plant. Some inspectors work for the Meat Hygiene Service in slaughterhouses, cutting plants and cold stores throughout the country.

Other meat inspectors work with veterinary officials inspecting live animals, game or poultry for indications of health or disease, and are also involved in post mortem inspections.

As well as inspecting meat or live animals in detail, they also check: the hygienic operation of meat plants and equipment; the welfare of animals in slaughterhouses; meat transportation; and the disposal of unfit meat.

Meat inspectors must record the results of inspections in detail, including any recommendations or problem areas, and ensure any action is dealt with quickly and efficiently.

What's the working environment like working as a Meat Inspector?

Meat inspectors usually work a 37 to 40 hour week, Monday to Friday. Weekend and evening work may also be required, and overtime may be worked if a hygiene problem occurs.

They wear protective clothing and use appropriate tools for inspection.

They spend much of their time working indoors, where there might be machinery noises and distinctive smells, and temperatures may be cold.

Meat inspectors are likely to have to travel between different locations.

What does it take to become a Meat Inspector?

To be a meat inspector you should:
  • have substantial knowledge about the meat industry
  • pay great attention to safety and hygiene
  • have good health and stamina
  • be adaptable and flexible
  • have good written and verbal communication skills
  • have the ability to build effective working relationships with people at all levels
  • be able to act calmly when dealing with difficult people or situations
  • be able to record findings methodically and accurately.

Meat Inspector Career Opportunities

There are around 2,800 meat inspector jobs available in the UK.

The Meat Hygiene Service offers around 1,600 job opportunities in around 1,400 different plants in England, Scotland and Wales. The Meat Hygiene Service is an executive agency of the government regulatory body, the Food Standards Agency.

Other employers are large-scale manufacturing companies and supermarket chains.

There may be promotion opportunities for experienced meat inspectors, for example: supervising other meat inspectors; a management role within the company; or a regional supervisory or management position within the Meat Hygiene Service.

Further information

Courses to help you become a Meat Inspector