Export Health Certificate system available

Date : 16 November 2020

Whatever the outcome of trade talks with the EU, procedures for exporting food and drink from the UK to the EU will change from January 2021.

One key change is that exports of live animals and Products of Animal Origin (POAO) to the EU will need an Export Health Certificate (EHC). These are already needed for exports to non-EU destinations, so some exporters will have familiarity.

An EHC is a certificate which specifies that goods comply with the health requirements of the destination country. A new EHC is needed for each load and mixed loads may need multiple EHCs. EHCs should accompany the load, so they can be inspected if required.

Where a shipment passes through multiple jurisdictions, several EHCs may be needed, one for each jurisdiction that is passed through, plus one for the destination.

Note that, according to the Northern Ireland Protocol (NIP), any animals and POAO goods sent from Great Britain to Northern Ireland after January 2021 – meaning that EHCs will be needed for some transactions within the UK.

The new UK system for issuing Export Health Certificates (EHCs) is also now “live”.

Each EHC must be endorsed by an official vet (OV), appointed by the Animal and Plant Health Agency (APHA) or some other authorised and competent person.

This may be a significant “bottleneck” because it is not certain that there are sufficient OVs in the UK to deal with the anticipated volume of work.

Goods sent from the EU to the UK will likewise need an EHC issued in the origin country.

To support exporters, the UK government has run a series of webinars for exporters, focusing on Products of Animal Origin (POAO) – meat, milk and so on). These can be viewed here.

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