Products of animal origin - international trade regulations

Exporting products of animal origin

If you wish to export products of animal origin (POAO) outside the European Union (EU) successfully, it's essential to plan everything well in advance. The rules and regulations governing the sector are detailed, variable and complex. Careful research before you start will minimise the risk of time-consuming and costly mistakes.

Health certification requirements

It is very likely that you will require an official veterinary export health certificate of some kind to export your POAO. Your first step should be to check with Divisional Veterinary Office to see if a suitable Export Health Certificate (EHC) is already available.

EHCs are typically tailored to meet the key animal health requirements of import permits or other information issued by the importing authorities. Since import permits and other import regulations for a given commodity can even vary from importer to importer, you should ensure that the available EHC satisfies the terms of the permit your particular importer has been given. You and your overseas customer may also be required to comply with specific regulations and conditions well in advance of your goods being shipped, so the earlier you know about these the better. For example, your company may have to be specifically approved by the importing authorities and your customer may need to obtain permission to place your goods on the market as well as being in possession of a valid import permit.

It's always a good idea to check the most up-to-date information on the official requirements of the importing country. This is because importing regulations and requirements can change at short notice in response to a number of factors, in particular threats to animal and human health and safety. Changes to import rules can mean that the EHC may no longer be acceptable to the importing authorities which could lead to your goods being detained or denied entry.

If you are having difficulties obtaining the latest requirements from the importing authorities, you may be able to check these through your importer or with the importing country's foreign embassy in the UK.

Find a list of embassies in the UK.

Check your own capabilities

Once you know which certification and health requirements you need to meet, you should consider how best to address them.

You can discuss the certification process with your vet or the Official Veterinarian who will sign your EHC. You do not have to pay for an EHC, but you will have to pay the Official Veterinarian who signs it for the service, as well as for any advice. You can find out about using Official Veterinarians from Divisional Veterinary Office.

You will also need to confirm any movement, transport and welfare requirements for live animals. Different species have different requirements. You can find out more about animal health.

Moving your goods

Once you're sure you have understood and met all the requirements, ask the Official Veterinarian to inspect and certify your goods for export.

The completed and signed EHC will provide the authorities in the importing country with assurances that, based on the information you have provided, your goods met their key animal health requirements at the time of inspection. You should be aware that your goods may be subject to further controls upon arrival, such as physical inspection, laboratory testing or a period of quarantine. You may also have to provide additional documentation to comply with requirements which are not covered by the EHC.