Export or move animal feed or pet food from GB to Northern Ireland
Last updated 18 January 2021
This guidance applies to businesses in Great Britain (GB) (England, Scotland and Wales) exporting or moving animal feed and pet food to, or through Northern Ireland.
You need an export health certificate (EHC) to export animal feed and pet food made from animal products.
Check the rules by contacting the Department of Agriculture, Environment and Rural Affairs (DAERA) or by getting help researching export markets.
You may also need a certificate of free sale - if you need one, check which type you need.
You need to follow different rules if you’re exporting animal by-products that will be used in animal feed or pet food.
Export or move live animal feed and pet food to NI
You need an EHC to:
- move animal feed and pet food from GB to Northern Ireland (NI)
- transit through the EU and NI
You also need to:
- get your goods checked at an EU border control post (BCP) or NI point of entry in the first country you enter
- make sure your EU or NI-based import agent has notified the BCP or NI point of entry that your consignment is arriving - check with the BCP or NI point of entry for how much notice needs to be given
- comply with wider HMRC guidance on customs requirements for exporting to the EU
- follow HMRC guidance for moving goods from GB to NI
General exporting rules
Make sure you follow wider business guidance for exporting to the EU.
Check if you need an EHC
Check the EHC finder to see if a certificate exists for your animal feed or pet food.
If you find an EHC, follow the EHC process to export.
If you cannot find an EHC, you’ll need to contact the competent authority in NI or the EU country you’re exporting to, in advance, to find out what:
- paperwork you’ll need to fill in
- rules you need to comply with
The competent authority means the equivalent of the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs in the EU country you’re exporting to. DAERA is the competent authority in NI.
If the competent authority says that you need an EHC, you’ll need to get their import conditions. Contact APHA who’ll arrange an EHC for you.
If you’re moving agrifood goods to NI, you do not need to pay for them to be inspected and certified. The certifier invoices the government for these costs as part of the Movement Assistance Scheme.
You do not need a certificate of free sale to export animal feed or pet food to the EU.
Checks at EU BCPs or point(s) of entry in NI
You must get animal feed or pet food containing products of animal origin (POAO) checked at an EU BCP or point of entry in NI.
These checks are made to protect:
- animal health and welfare
- public health
Your goods may be refused entry, seized, destroyed or returned to GB if they arrive at:
- a port in the EU without a BCP where checks cannot be carried out
- an EU BCP that cannot check your type of product
- an EU BCP without the correct documentation
Find the correct BCP for your goods
You must find a BCP that accepts animal feed or pet food containing POAO - as not all BCPs accept all goods. You’ll need to consider how to redirect your trade route if needed.
There are more than 400 BCPs in the EU and they’re usually at EU ports and airports.
Check the full list of EU BCPs.
Give advance notice to EU BCPs or point(s) of entry in NI
You’ll need to give EU BCPs or points of entry in NI advance notice of goods arriving.
Check with the BCP or point of entry you’re planning to use for how much notice is needed.
Contact your import agent in the EU or NI to make sure they notify the BCP through Trade Control and Expert Sysytem (TRACES) of the arrival of the consignment.
They must do this within the time limits set out by the BCP or point of entry.
What happens if your goods fail inspection at a BCP
If your goods fail inspection because of risks to animal or public health, they will be destroyed immediately.
If the goods fail for other reasons, the BCP will:
- notify your importer or agent
- ask them to decide whether your goods should be destroyed or returned to GB
The BCP will not usually contact you directly.