Export or move live animals and animal products to the EU or Northern Ireland from 1 January 2021

Guide

Last updated 17 February 2021

The UK has agreed a deal with the EU. This page tells you the new rules from 1 January 2021. It will be updated if anything changes.

This guidance applies to businesses in Great Britain (England, Scotland and Wales) exporting or moving live animals and animal products to, or through the EU and Northern Ireland (NI). Find out more about moving goods into, out of, or through NI from 1 January 2021.

Exporting or moving live animals and animal products

You'll need to follow different guidance for:

Live animals, products of animal origin (POAO) or germplasm (semen, ova and embryos)
You'll need an export health certificate (EHC) from 1 January 2021 to:

  • export live animals, POAO or germplasm from GB to the EU
  • move live animals, POAO or germplasm from GB to NI
  • transit through the EU and NI

You'll also need to:

Use the transition checker to find out what you need to do from 1 January 2021.

You'll also need to follow new rules on identifying animals (see below), if you want to export or move them to the EU or NI after 1 January 2021.

You must follow animal welfare during transport rules to export or move live animals to the EU or NI (see section below on documents to transport live animals).

You should read additional rules if you:

  • export or move composite food products to the EU and NI
  • want to check if your product counts as a composite food product

Animal by-products
To export or move animal by-products (ABPs), you'll need to check the export health certificate (EHC) finder to get either:

If you cannot find either of these for your product type, you'll need to contact the Department of Agriculture, Environment and Rural Affairs (DAERA) in NI or the competent authority in the EU country where your consignment is going - this means the equivalent of the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra) in that country. They'll send you the paperwork you'll need to fill in.

If you're exporting or moving animal by-products from GB to the EU or NI you must make sure:

  • mammalian PAP has been processed in a region considered as posing a negligible BSE risk through method 1 (pressure sterilisation)
  • tallow for non-feed use has a marker using glycerol triheptanonate (GTH)

You will not be able to export or move untreated and unprocessed animal by-products from GB to the EU or NI.

You will not be able to export the following to non-EU countries:

  • category 1 specified risk material (SRM)
  • animal by-products (ABPs)
  • derived products destined for incineration or landfill

You will not be able to import and export all category 1 and 2 animal by-products.

You'll also need to follow HMRC guidance:

Some ABPs need to go through a BCP in the EU or a point of entry in NI. You can confirm this by checking the EU list of products which must be inspected by a vet at a BCP in the EU or point of entry in NI.

If your ABP needs to go through a BCP in the EU, or point of entry in NI you must make sure that your:

  • goods are checked at an EU border control post (BCP) or NI point of entry that can accept your type of goods - this must be in the first EU country you enter, or at the point of entry in NI
  • EU or NI-based import agent has notified the BCP or point of entry in NI that your consignment is arriving - check with the BCP or point of entry for how much notice needs to be given

If your ABP does not need to go through a BCP in the EU or point of entry in NI, you must make sure that your EU or NI-based import agent notifies:

  • DAERA in NI or the competent authority of the EU country that your consignment is going to
  • NI or EU port or airport, within the time limits set out by the competent authority

Identifying animals to export or move to the EU or NI

You must use the GB country code from 1 January 2021 when identifying animals you want to:

  • export to the EU
  • move to NI
  • transit through the EU or NI

You must record all tags you use in your holding register before sending your animals for export.

You can order the tags you need from your usual ear tag supplier.

Sheep and goat tagging
You should add a third tag with the GB country code to sheep or goats who are already double tagged. You must use the same individual ID number on the GB tag.

For unidentified animals you're tagging for the first time, you can choose to either:

  • use double UK tags with the GB suffix (UK-GB)
  • add a third tag with the GB country code - you must add this if your UK double tags do not state GB

Single tagged lambs you want to export or move to the EU or NI must be reidentified using double tags. You can either:

  • use double UK tags with the GB suffix (UK-GB)
  • add a third tag with the GB country code - you must add this if your UK double tags do not state GB

One of these tags must be electronic.

All tags must include the animal's individual ID number.

Third tags should not be yellow or red.

You can replace lost or damaged tags with ones that use the GB suffix (UK-GB) if your animals have already been identified.

Cattle tagging
You should add a third tag with the GB country code to cattle who are already double tagged.

All tags must include the animal's individual ID number.

For unidentified calves you're tagging for the first time, you can choose to either:

  • use double UK tags with the GB suffix (UK-GB)
  • add a third tag with the GB country code - you must add this if your UK double tags do not state GB

You should use a plastic flag or button tag, of any colour, for your third tag.

If you export cattle for slaughter, they must be freeze-branded on the hind quarters with an L mark.

Cattle passports
You do not need to send passports with your cattle when you export them to the EU from 1 January 2021.

You must return any existing passports to the British Cattle Movement Service (BCMS) within 7 days of exporting your animals.

Pig tagging
You should identify pigs you want to export or move to the EU or NI with an ear tag or tattoo that states:

  • UK, with the GB suffix (UK-GB)
  • the animal's herd mark
  • an individual ID number

Moving animals to GB from NI
You can continue to use existing UK tags to move animals from NI to GB after 1 January 2021.

Read more information about moving goods under the NI Protocol.

Contact DAERA for information about moving goods from NI to the EU.

Grace period for authorised traders moving food from GB to NI
There will be a 3 month grace period from certification through to 1 April 2021 for authorised traders such as supermarkets and their trusted suppliers from 1 January 2021. If you're moving products of animal origin from GB to NI, you will not require official certification, such as export health certificates, phytosanitary certificates or marketing standards certification.

The UK government and the Northern Ireland Department for Agriculture, Environment and Rural Affairs will engage in a rapid exercise to ensure that traders who can benefit from these arrangements are identified prior to 31 December. The government will not discriminate against smaller suppliers or between different companies in implementing these practical measures.

The following conditions will be attached to these arrangements:

  • The goods are packaged for end consumers and they bear a label reading "These products from the United Kingdom may not be marketed outside Northern Ireland".
  • They are destined solely for sale to end consumers in supermarkets located in Northern Ireland, and they cannot be sold to other operators of the food chain.
  • They are accompanied by a simplified official certificate globally stating the products meet all the import requirements of EU legislation.
  • They enter Northern Ireland through a designated point of entry, where they are submitted to a systematic documentary check and to a risk-based identity check on a selection of items in the means of transport.
  • They are monitored through a channelling procedure applicable from the designated point of entry to the destination supermarket in NI.

Authorised traders

Authorised traders are supermarkets and their trusted suppliers. The UK government will not discriminate against smaller suppliers or between different companies in recognising traders as authorised for the purpose of this grace period.

A trusted supplier is any business that independently moves its products from GB to NI, for sale in NI.

For example, a meat pie supplier that moves its own products from GB to NI, which delivers directly to a store for sale within NI only would be eligible for authorised trader status.

However, a meat pie supplier that delivers products to a supermarket distribution centre in GB, which is then moved by the supermarket to NI, the producer would not qualify. In this instance, the supermarket would be the authorised trader for that movement into Northern Ireland.

Self-identification by traders
Defra and DAERA are compiling a list of authorised traders who can benefit from the 3-month grace period. Once identified, the traders will be added onto Defra's authorised traders list that will be sent to the European Commission.

You can also self-identify to be included on the list.

If you self-identify as an authorised trader, complete the Authorised Trader Form (PDF, 149K).

The form must be completed fully. Make sure you provide your:

  • business name
  • company affiliation if you’re a supplier
  • Economic Operators Registration and Identification number (EORI)
  • head office address
  • NI distribution address if relevant

The form will ask further information on your operations. This information will be used to determine whether you are eligible to be included on the list.

Email Defra if you have questions about your eligibility or the grace period.

Email your completed authorised traders form to Defra by 17.00 pm (GMT) on 28 December 2020.

Defra will attempt to respond to all emails within 2 working days.

The emailed response will either:

  • confirm that your business is included on the authorised traders list and include your business’ unique registration number
  • contain a rejection letter with reasons and steps you can take to resolve them. You can challenge rejection decisions via email until 28 December 2020.

Exports to non-EU countries (third countries) from the UK

There's unlikely to be any change to the current export rules and processes for countries outside the EU. Make sure you check the existing guidance on exporting live animals or animal products.

Restricted and prohibited goods

EU rules mean you will not be able to export the following goods to the EU:

  • chilled minced meat (red meat)
  • chilled meat preparations (for example, raw sausages)
  • minced meat (poultry)
  • poultry and ratite or game bird mechanically separated meat
  • raw milk from TB herds
  • ungraded eggs
  • composite products containing dairy products made from unpasteurised milk (for example, a ready meal topped with unpasteurised cheese)

You will not be able to re-export certain animal and animal products including:

  • fresh meat originally from the EU or non-EU countries
  • milk not from the UK
  • products using products of animal origin from non-EU countries that are not listed by the EU for the purpose of imports into the EU

Movements from GB to NI
You can continue to move the following restricted and prohibited meat products from GB to NI from 1 January:

  • frozen or chilled minced meat of poultry, ratites and wild game birds
  • chilled minced meat from animals other than poultry
  • chilled meat preparations
  • any unprocessed meat produced from meat initially imported into GB from the EU

This will be in place for six months. The government will continue to explore permanent reciprocal arrangements. You must also make sure the meat products:

  • enter NI through a designated point of entry, and follow the channelling procedure applicable from the designated point of entry through to the destination supermarket in NI, as directed by the point of entry authority
  • are sold exclusively to end consumers in supermarkets located in NI, and they're not sold to other operators of the food chain
  • are accompanied by official certificates issued by the UK competent authorities (based on similar models already existing for fresh meat, minced meat and meat preparations)
  • are packed for end consumers and have a label reading "These products from the United Kingdom may not be sold outside Northern Ireland"

If you are moving permitted chilled meats from Great Britain to Northern Ireland, Prohibited and Restricted (P&R) Export Health Certificates will be required from and including 22 February 2021. Find out more about importing prohibited and restricted chilled meat products to NI from GB.

Checks at EU BCPs or point of entry in NI

You must get your animals and animal products checked at an EU BCP or point of entry in NI, from 1 January 2021.

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 your type of goods - 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.

You can check the list of EU BCPs on the EU site.

Give advance notice to EU BCPs or point 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 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.

Rejected goods from 1 January to 30 June 2021

From 1 January to 30 June 2021, these consignments rejected at EU BCPs may, subject to a risk assessment, re-enter GB through any point of entry:

  • live animals including equines
  • germinal products
  • products of animal origin (POAO)
  • animal by products

GB importers must submit an import notification on the import of products, animals, food and feed system (IPAFFS).

Rejected goods are consignments rejected by the competent authority in an EU country. Consignments rejected for commercial reasons cannot be returned as rejected goods.

There are certain documentary requirements to return rejected goods to GB from the EU. The Animal and Plant Health Agency (APHA) will notify you if the returned consignment needs to enter through a BCP or can enter through any point of entry.

Animal by-products and germinal products: document requirements for rejected goods from 1 January to 30 June 2021
Apply to APHA Centre for International Trade (CIT) on IPAFFS to return a consignment.

Submit the notification on IPAFFS one working day in advance. In exceptional circumstances, known as 'logistical constraints', you can submit the notification at least 4 hours before arrival.

Attach these documents to the IPAFFS notification:

  • a declaration from the EU BCP describing the reason for refusal of entry
  • full details of destination in GB and the intended use or destruction of the returned consignment from the person responsible for the consignment
  • the original export certificate for the returned product
  • a declaration stating that the consignment has remained sealed with an intact original seal or an official seal applied by the EU BCP

If the consignment did not require a veterinary certificate or did not have a certificate for export you must present:

  • a commercial invoice or similar that verifies the returned consignment corresponds with the one that was exported

You must have an official declaration from the EU BCP if the products are any of the following:

  • have been unloaded, stored, re-loaded in the EU
  • the original seal has been replaced
  • not originally exported in a sealed container

The official declaration must state the:

  • place and date of unloading, storage and re-loading and the seal number put on the container after reloading
  • reasons for unloading and storage

The official declaration must confirm that the:

  • seal on the vehicle or container of the consignment was only broken for the purpose of official controls
  • products were handled only to the extent necessary, and in particular at the appropriate temperature
  • products were handled in a way that prevents cross contamination during the official controls
  • vehicle or container was immediately re-sealed after the official controls

APHA will assess these documents to decide the conditions of import and if the consignment will have to be returned through any point of entry or a BCP. APHA will give you an authorisation. You must comply with the conditions of the authorisation.

Products of animal origin for human consumption: document requirements for rejected goods from 1 January to 30 June 2021
Apply to APHA Centre for International Trade (CIT) on IPAFFS to return a consignment.

Submit the notification on IPAFFS one working day in advance. In exceptional circumstances, known as 'logistical constraints', you can submit the notification at least 4 hours before arrival.

Attach these documents to the IPAFFS notification:

  • a declaration from the EU BCP describing the reason for refusal of entry
  • full details of destination in GB and the intended use or destruction of the returned consignment from the person responsible for the consignment
  • the original export certificate for the returned product

If the consignment did not require a veterinary certificate or did not have a certificate for export you must present:

  • a commercial invoice or similar that verifies the returned consignment corresponds with the one that was exported

If the consignment was not originally exported in a sealed container or where the seal is broken for official control purposes, you must have an official declaration from the EU BCP stating the:

  • place and date of unloading and reloading of the consignment
  • consignment did not undergo any handling other than unloading, storage and reloading
  • products were handled only to the extent necessary for the purposes of official controls at the appropriate temperature
  • unloading and reloading of the consignment was handled hygienically to avoid cross-contamination
  • consignment was stored under hygienic conditions at the required temperature and not at risk of cross contamination
  • effective measures were put in place to avoid the contamination of the POAO with disease agents which cause transmissible animal diseases during the unloading, storage and re-loading in the EU country
  • place of any unloading, storage and re-loading in the EU country was not subject to animal health movement restrictions due to transmissible animal diseases during the unloading, storage and re-loading

If the rejected good was originally exported in a sealed container and maintained an intact original seal, you must have a declaration by the person responsible for the consignment stating:

  • since the product was originally exported, the storage and transport conditions have been complied with
  • that the content of the consignment has not been altered

APHA will assess this information to decide the conditions of import and if the consignment will have to be returned through any point of entry or a BCP. APHA will give you an authorisation. You must comply with the conditions of the authorisation.

Returned live animals: document requirements for rejected goods from 1 January to 30 June 2021
Apply to APHA Centre for International Trade (CIT) on IPAFFS to return a consignment.

Submit the notification on IPAFFS one working day in advance. In exceptional circumstances, known as 'logistical constraints', you can submit the notification at least 4 hours before arrival.

Attach these documents to the IPAFFS notification:

  • the original export certificate and related documentation
  • statement from the EU BCP of the reasons why the returned animals were refused by the EU BCP
  • statement from the EU BCP with details of the premises in which the animals were kept since leaving GB, for example in quarantine or in isolation
  • declaration by the person responsible for the returned animals that the import conditions relating to transport have been complied with in relation to the returned animals
  • declaration by the person responsible for the animals that they have not been in contact with any other animal of a lesser health status since leaving GB

APHA will assess this information to decide the conditions of import and if the consignment will have to be returned through any point of entry or a BCP. APHA will give you authorisation. You must comply with the conditions of the authorisation.

Returned goods procedure for animal products and live animals rejected from an EU BCP from 1 July 2021
Returned goods must enter GB at an appropriately designated BCP for checks on entry from 1 July 2021. You must notify on IPAFFS and present the relevant documentation to the BCP as set out in the returned goods processes for animal products and live animals.

EU listing of the UK and its establishments

The European Commission will vote on whether to list the UK as a 'third country' (non-EU-country) and allow exports of:

  • live animals
  • germplasm
  • POAO
  • ABPs

If the vote is passed, the UK will be listed as an approved third country to allow these exports to continue to the EU.

EU listing for exporters and suppliers
You'll need to be listed as an approved establishment with the EU if you do any of the following:

The European Commission has confirmed that the current list of UK animal by-product and germplasm premises will be accepted.

Documents to transport live animals

To transport live animals from GB to the EU from 1 January 2021 you'll need to apply to an EU Member State where you have representation for an EU Issued:

  • authorisation
  • certificate of competence
  • vehicle approval certificate

The EU will no longer recognise UK-issued versions of these documents.

For movements of live animals from GB to NI, you will need versions of these documents issued by DAERA or an EU member state.

Journey logs
To transport live animals from, or through, GB to the EU you'll need to apply for 2 journey logs:

  • one approved by the EU member state which is the first point of entry into the EU
  • one approved by APHA (or DAERA, if the journey originates in NI)

To transport live animals from GB to NI you'll need a journey log issued by DAERA.

For further information on documents to transport live animals, contact APHA: CITCarlisle@apha.gov.uk or DAERA.

Other export requirements

Before exporting, businesses must:

There are actions you should take to prepare for exporting customs control. Read HMRC's guidance to understand the steps you need to take.

Trade agreements

Where replacement trade agreements are not agreed, trade would take place on World Trade Organization (WTO) terms with that country.

Find out which non-EU countries the UK has trading arrangements with.

Find out which new trade agreements will be in place.


First published 11 December 2020