12 Steps to Export Products of Animal Origin from GB to EU

1. Economic Operator Registration and Identification (EORI)

  • Step 1 Economic Operator Registration and Identification (EORI) should only need to be completed once 
  • EORI is a unique ID code for businesses that is issued by HRMC and which is used to track and register customs information in the EU 
  • From 1 January 2021 an EORI will be required by most businesses who move goods between UK and the EU however there are some exceptions as not every trader will need one. For example, small businesses using a parcel courier 
  • This unique code must start with the letters ‘GB’ and will be followed by a 12-digit number which will be based upon the trader’s VAT number 
  • They are generally issued straight away but can take up to 5 working days (If HRMC needs to make more checks)
    You can apply online at: https://www.gov.uk/eori
    If you already have an EORI please make sure you check it as from January it
    must start with GB and if it doesn’t you will have to apply for a new one 
  • Please note: If you don’t have an EORI number then the customs authorities are more
    than likely to take possession of the consignment until you are able to display one this
    will lead to increased costs and delays for your business. 
  •  An EORI number is an obligation regardless of whether the consignment is to be
    delivered by sea, land or air freight

2. Approved Establishment/Premises List

This should only need to be completed once

  • To export products of animal origin to the EU, the EU requires third countries to be approved 
  • This also includes sites from which export takes place where the final certification process is conducted 
  • So businesses that operate from a UK approved establishment and that export products of animal origin, such as meat, fish, shellfish, eggs and dairy products, to the EU, will need to be listed 
  • This includes any processing plants within your supply chain 
  •  If your establishment/premises is an approved establishment then you will be have been automatically put forward for listing with the EU.The Food Standards Agency will have written out to you.You can check if your establishment(s) are on the current list at food.gov.uk 
  •  If your establishment is not listed and needs to be then you need to notify the relevant agency, Food Standards Agency or Food Standards Scotland, ASAP or by beginning of December 2020 and your business will be added to the European Commission list.
    Conversely, if you do NOT wish to be listed you must contact the relevant agency asap to let them know 
  •  From January 2021 the process to be added to the EU Approved Establishment List will take 30 working days and you will not be able to export until you are on the EU Approved Establishment List. 
  •  From January you apply to APHA to be added to the EU list of approved exporters 
  • Check you are the following list https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/businesses-approved-to-export-to-the-eu
  • If you produce composite products you may still be able to export despite not being on the above list. 

3. Health and Identification Marks

  • As of 1 January products of animal origin which have been produced in a UK-approved establishment will not be able to apply the current ‘EC’ health and identification marks
  •  But health and identification marks must be applied to food products of animal origin to confirm they have been produced in accordance with regulatory requirements
  • The health mark indicates that the product has been inspected by the Competent
    Authority and is fit for human consumption
  •  Health mark prefixes used to label UK products of animal origin must carry either: the official two-digit ISO Code (‘GB’) or the full country name in capital letters (‘UNITED KINGDOM’)
  • Identification mark prefixes used to label are the same except the full country name doesn’t have to be in capital letters
  •  1 January 2021 to export goods from GB to the EU you will need to use the official two- letter ISO code ‘GB’ or the full country name
  •  To promote a consistent approach across England and Wales, Food Standards Agency will in the first instance apply the GB health mark.
  •   These health marks have been distributed to all inspection teams in operational establishments in England and Wales
  •  Food Standards Scotland are making similar arrangements in Scotland.
  •  Whilst there is no obligation on food businesses to apply a default ‘GB’ Identification
    mark, ideally the identification marks should replicate the ‘GB’ health mark applied by FSA staff. This will reduce the risk of confusing or misleading customers and enforcement authorities further along the supply chain. 
  • Products produced in the UK carrying the GB or United Kingdom identification mark can be placed on the UK, EU and non-EU markets
  •  It is really important to note the current EC health and identification marks applied to products of animal origin produced in the UK should continue to be used until the end of the transition period, December 2020. The new marks should not be used before 1 January 2021
  •  https://www.food.gov.uk/business-guidance/guidance-on-health-and-identification-marks-that-apply-from-1-january-2021

4. Labelling

Labelling should only need to be completed once

  •  Foods being exported to the EU from 1 January 2021 will need will need to meet EU food labelling rules
  •  Labels will need to include:
    • Origin of the food product 
    • The name or business name and address of who is responsible for the product in
      the EU (Importer or if the business has premises within the EU)
    • Health and/or identification marks – either the name of the country in full or with
      the ISO two-letter code where the establishment is located as well as the approval
      number of the establishment
    •  Any other mandatory information such as relating to farming methods and
      marketing standards

5. Marketing Standards

  •  If you export marketing standards commodities to the EU, some of the processes and
    requirements you follow will change from 1 January 2021.
  •  Defra will continue to engage with the industries impacted by this and further guidance
    will be issued once discussions with the EU are complete

6. Border Control Posts (BCPs)

This step needs to be completed every time

  •   Border Control Posts are designated and approved inspection posts at a European Union border that carry out checks on animals and animal products to protect animal and public  health, and animal welfare arriving from third countries. 
  •  As of 1 January 2021 animals and animal products goods being exported from GB to EU need to enter through a border control post
  •  Your goods exported to the EU may need to go via a specific port according to the designation of goods accepted at the BCP so they can have the required checks and processes for the type of goods.
  •   Exporters should check their intended point of entry can process their type of consignment
  •   All EU BCPs require advance notice of goods arriving and you check with the specific BCP for how much notice is required your import agent in the EU will need to notify the BCP through TRACES of the arrival of the consignment with the required advance notice period
  • BCPs will want to see all relevant paperwork for the consignment before goods are checked and processes depending what goods are being exported to the EU will determine the checks at the BCP
  •  The European Commission website has a full list of EU BCPs with which goods they can process – this list is expected to be updated as we head towards the New Year https://ec.europa.eu/food/animals/vet-border-control/bip-contacts_en

7. Export Health Certificate

This step needs to be completed every time

  • EHCs are official documents confirming that your export meets the health requirements
    of the European Union.
  •  As we’ve left the European Union single market and customs union, we need to have an Export Health Certificate for all the products we send to the EU.
  • This is a requirement set by the EU and is mandatory.
  • If you don’t have a valid, certified Export Health Certificate then your consignment will be rejected when it enters at a border control post in the EU.So Export Health Certificates will be required for goods entering the EU from 1 January 2021.Please note if goods are being sent before the end of the year but won’t arrive at  the EU border until 01 January 21 or later then an EHC would be required
  •  An Export Health Certificate is required for each animal or animal product you export
    This means if you have three types of products, pork, beef and chicken that you need to export in one means of transport, you will need three EHCs, one for each of the animal products, pork, beef and chicken
  • You should check the notes for guidance as there will be changes to processes for some commodities.For example as a meat/meat product exports of ‘in feather’ game will require a certified EHC, which has to be exported via a game handling establishment that has been approved by the FSA or FSS before entering the EU via an appropriately approved border control post.A hard copy of the final EHC travels with your goods – therefore you need a fully certified EHC before they leave your premises
    The EHC will be checked when your goods arrive into the EU via a border control post. 
  •  Goods entering the EU via the BCP are subjected to documentary, identity and physical checks.
    •  100% of documentary and Identity checks.
    •  Physical checks are carried out on a percentage (maximum 30%)
      depending on risk and this may be further reduced when trade agreements
  •  Goods will need an EHC for each country that the good transits through to reach its destination . There are over 120 EHCs for exports to the EU each setting out the specific EU health requirements. Guidance notes are also available for each EHC providing additional information to assist exporters and certifying officers.
  • You should carefully read the export health certificate and the accompanying guidance notes
  • Please note: EHCs are issued from one dispatch premises to one destination premises –multiple premises of destination cannot be entered on an EHC. (i.e. An EHC only allow goods to move to one location and not multiple drop offs). The EU EHCs available on gov.uk.
     If you want to familiarise yourself with EU EHCs and guidance notes before January then please go to EHC Form Finder on GOV.UK

To see the EU certificates use the filter ‘destination country’ on the left hand side  www.gov.uk/export-health-certificates
If you can’t find the EHC for your product – contact APHA. Products of animal origin goods need to be certified and an EHC issued by a designated Certifying Officer before you can export your goods to the EU. 

  •  As the exporting business, it is your responsibility to ensure you have a signed and   stamped export health certificate that travels with your consignment into the EU.   
  •  To enable for you to obtain a valid EHC, your goods will need to be inspected and   verified by a certifying officer. Once they have physically inspected your goods, they will issue the EHC and give your goods the green light to leave your premises and be exported to the EU. 
  • There are two main types of certifying officer in GB   
    •  Official Veterinarians (OVs) are designated vets who hold additional qualifications   to inspect products and issue EHCs   
    • Food Competent Certifying Officers (FCCOs), known as Food Safety Officers in   Scotland, who are generally Environmental Health Officers who can only certify certain products e.g.: fish and fishery products 
  • We provide certifying officer    
    •  We provide certifying officer(s) that are trained and accredited to inspect your goods type.   
    • You can have more than one certifying officer for the same product type or for several product types   
    •  We are registered on EHC Online    
  •  A certifying officer will physically inspect your goods and will issue the EHC only if the export meets all requirements.  
  • Once your goods have been inspected and the certifying officer is satisfied the export meets all necessary requirements you will be issued with a signed and stamped EHC.   
  •  The original EHC then travels with your consignment   
  •  The certifying officer will charge for the inspection and certifying of the goods.   
  •  The EHC itself is free   
  •  Groupage Export Facilitation Scheme (GEFS) has been developed which is relevant for   exporters of certain products packaged for the final consumer from stable supply chains 
  • GEFS refers to range of export scenarios 
  • Fresh meat is not covered by GEFS but meat products and preparations are .  
  • Used for specific goods – stable supply chain   
  • Single or multiple EHCs   
  • Exporters have to apply to join the GEFS.   
  • The initial application takes 3 days to approve. You will be able to clone future certificates but some can only be processed during weekday if they require clearance certificates
  • CO’s can use the 30 day support attestations.    

8. Applying for an EHC

This step needs to be completed every time.

  •  EU EHCs for animals and products of animal origin to the EU can only be applied for via the online application system on GOV.UK (known as EHC Online) 
  •  Both the exporter and the certifying officer(s) need to be registered for EHC online before an EHC application can be progressed. Exporters need to register for an EHC Online account before they can make their  first application. Our COs are already registered with EHC Online as the exporter you  can select them us as your CO
    • Exporters can start an application, save and edit later; replicate information from
      previous certificates apply for multiple certificates in one application for some products; and receive email notifications at each stage of the process to keep up to date with progress
    •  Certifying Officers can review, approve or reject applications, cancel and replace an EHC, and see their upcoming certification workload on their dashboard The EHC Online service allows exporters to apply for, manage and keep up-to-date on the progress of their applications at each stage of the process
  • Exporters must register for EHC Online
  • Registration for EHC Online opened on 8 October 2020 atwww.gov.uk/guidance/apply-for-an-export-health-certificate
    You’ll need a Government Gateway account and a Defra account. If you don’t have them, you’ll be guided to set them up when you use the service for the first time. Please register at the earliest opportunity

9. EHC Online Application

This step needs to be completed every time

  •  As the exporter, you need to select the appropriate EHC, start and complete the application as much as you can before it goes to the certifying officer/organisation for review and approval. Always check the guidance notes – this is where you will pick up changes to and specific requirements for your goods
  •  You can apply for and have a certified EHC up to seven working days before the export date
  •  The CO will receive your application and will need to check it, print the completed EHC in order to sign and stamp the document and hand it over to the exporter, who must send it with the consignment.  Critically the printed certificate has to bear the fresh (i.e. wet) CO signature and stamp. So those are applied by the CO after the cert is printed 
  • EHCs for EU can be printed off on standard office paper 
  • EHC will be automatically translated into the required languages but only if the correct point of entry into  the EU and the country of destination were declared in the application
  • You need to plan your route to get an inspection at an EU BCP that can accept your type of goods 
  • An export without the correct EHC will be rejected at the border control post

Exporters actions are:

  • Register for an EHC Online account

We are registered on the EHC Online. Get your product inspected and certified by our CO. Ensure your certified EHC travels with the export consignment

10. EU-Based Importer

  • EU-based Importer this step needs to be completed every time
  • An EU-based Importer is the person who is receiving your goods in the EU
  • From 1 January animals and animal products must be checked at an appropriate EU
    BCP. These checks are made to protect animal health and welfare and public health
  • All BCPs require advance notice of goods arriving. You will need to check with the BCP how much notice needs to be given. Depending what goods are being exported will determine the checks at the BCP. Your goods may be refused entry, seized, destroyed or returned to the UK if they arrive at an EU port without a BCP notification or the BCP can’t check your type of product 
  • Exporter sends a copy of the certified EHC to the Import Agent
  • Your import agent must submit to the BCP, of first arrival into the EU, a pre-notification of the goods arriving by registering the consignment. This is done via TRACES which is the European Commission’s multilingual online platform for sanitary and phytosanitary certification required for the importation of animals, animal products, food and feed of non-animal origin and plants into the European Union. It streamlines and fully digitalises the certification process and all linked entry procedures 
  • A customs declaration must be completed
  • Please note your EU Import agent is responsible for ensuring the correct BCP is notified  of your goods arrival and makes the correct declarations – if they don’t your goods will be rejected at the BCP 
  • If goods fail inspection due to risks to animal or public health, they will be detained and may be required to be destroyed.    
  • 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 the UK. The BCP will not usually contact the exporter directly. 
  •  If the goods are part of groupage and if one consignment fails the inspection it’s likely that the whole load will be rejected.
  • If you get permission to bring your goods back to the UK, you can do so using the same documents you used to export. You will need to pre-notify APHA.
  •  The importer has to carry the costs

11. Transportation

  • This step needs to be completed every time 
  • Responsibility for customs border formalities rests with traders 
  • Goods will not be able to move across EU borders without the correct documentation 
  • From January 2021 an arrived declaration must be submitted to customs before goods have left the trader’s premises.You need to have your goods declared for export, this is inputted into the  ‘Customs Handling of Import and Export Freight’ (known as CHIEF) so your goods may be cleared for export. Failure to ‘arrive’ export declarations on the system will cause delays as your goods will not be allowed to leave the UK. 
  • The declarant will receive ‘Permission to Progress’ (P2P) Goods must not be shipped, or be loaded without permission to progress granted from customs. 
  • Hauliers will need to carry evidence that a declaration has been made. 
  • If a physical check is required, the haulier or declarant will be instructed to move to a specified location for a check 
  • There are different requirements on the Dover – Calais

The haulier must ensure their driver has all necessary customs documentation and other paperwork which must be carried in the vehicle for the duration of the journey.From 1 January 2021, the operator licensing requirements for journeys to, through or from the EU, Iceland, Liechtenstein and Norway will change. All exports will require a Safety and Security (S&S) declaration from January 2021 

  • This declaration is used to notify customs authorities of goods and transport
    vehicles arriving in the country for the purpose of making a risk assessment of the cargo
  • There are prior notification requirements.
    •  Container maritime cargo: at least 24 hours before loading commences in the foreign port.
    • Bulk maritime cargo: at least 4 hours before arrival 
    • Short sea shipping: at least 2 hours before arrival 
    • Short haul flights (less than 4 hours): at least by the actual time of take-off
      of the aircraft 
    • Long haul flights (4 hours or more): at least 4 hours before arrival at the first
      airport in the customs territory of the EU 
    • Road traffic: at least 1 hour before arrival.
       Transporters will need to have the right operator licence and permits

Usually standard international operator licence but there may be other licences may need an ECMT permit ( European Conference of Ministers of Transport – which sets out the rules you have to follow) or other additional permits. Further guidance GOV.UK 

Find out how to apply for a standard international operator licence visit 

www.gov.uk/being-a-goods-vehicle-operator/typesof-licence  Find out how to apply for ECMT permits gov.uk/guidance/ECMT-international- road-haulage-permits.Further details to follow in 2020 

12. Customs Declarations and Tariffs

  • This step needs to be completed every time
  • From 1 January 2021 exporters have to:
    submit export customs declarations for all goods submit safety and security information either via a combined export declaration or a standalone Exit Summary Declaration 
  • You can make the custom declarations yourself or hire someone else to do this for you 
  • Customs processes are complicated, require specific training and software so most
    businesses use customs intermediaries to complete customs processes for them 
  • Provide all the necessary information your customs intermediary asks for so they can
    complete the export declaration 
  • Goods require a commodity code
  • Identify the correct customs procedure codes
    •  If goods are moving via a location with no existing control systems, an arrived export declaration will need to be submitted.
    •  If a physical check is required, the goods will be directed to a site for a check. 
    •  Once all checks have been completed, or if permission to progress (P2P) has been  issued straight away the goods can then be moved to the port. 
    •  If goods are moving through a location with existing inventory systems, the declaration should be submitted as pre-lodged and follow the standard export procedure. 
    • For excise goods or goods moving under duty suspense only, if moving the goods
      through a location that does not have systems to automatically communicate to HMRC that the goods have left the country, the trader must provide proof to HMRC after the goods have left that the goods have exited the country. 
    • HRMC have produced Customs clearance process videos which you may find very helpful    
  • This step needs to be completed every time
  • Exporting goods to the EU you may need to pay tariffs 
  • Goods require a commodity code – use the UK Trade Tariff tool to find the correct commodity code 
  • From 1 January 2021, you can charge customers VAT at 0% (as on most goods you export to the EU) 
  • Further details on exporting can be found on GOV.UK


This is the end of the end to end journey for products of animal origin.