UK organisations providing export certification services for agri-food & drink exporters




  • The system of international import conditions allows for trade in products of animal and plant origin while safeguarding animal and human health.
  • Requirements are set by the destination country. Exporters must establish import requirements for their consignment for themselves by talking to the relevant authorities in the importing country.
  • Contacting the UK Embassy in the destination country is the best way of getting in touch with the import authorities. Talking to importers (e.g. customers, distributors) is also useful, but it is safer to get formal advice from the relevant authorities.
  • Check early, allowing sufficient time for the certification process, and before each consignment as requirements can change.
  • Consignments that do not meet a country’s import rules could be refused entry, returned or destroyed.
  • Where requirements have not been agreed, they have to be negotiated with the destination country. This process is lengthy and can take years. This is why exporting should be a normal part of business planning.
  • Some products require more than one certificate e.g. if they are made of several components;
  • Europe has a single market so most goods can be traded freely if they are legally sold in the UK. There are specific exceptions and therefore it is still worth checking;

Relevant organisations by product type:

Animals & animal products
(e.g. all living animals (not live aquatic animals) e.g. livestock, birds, reptiles; products destined for human or animal consumption e.g. meat, fish, pet food; misc products of animal origin e.g. hides, taxidermy, wax, germplasm.)

Live aquatic animals
(e.g. fish, molluscs and crustacea for aquaculture, ornamental purposes, scientific research etc.)

Endangered animals & plants
issues permits for UK exports of endangered animals & plants (and products thereof) that are covered under the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES). E.g. ivory, some reptiles e.g. Tortoise and Alligator; monkeys; birds e.g. Parrot and Macaw; plants and plant products e.g. Rosewood and Snowdrops.

Plants & plant products
(e.g. grain, bulbs, oils, derivatives, cut flowers, fruit, veg, seeds; soil & agricultural machinery (i.e. contamination risk); processed plant products e.g. flour, tea, wine – if required.)

Certificates of Free Sale: accompany products for human or animal consumption and state they’re free from harmful levels of radiation.
EU export licensing: licences are required to export certain agri-products and commodities covered by the Common Agricultural Policy (CAP) outside of the EC (e.g. meat, fish, dairy, cereals, rice, fruit, vegetables and wines and spirits.)

The Rural Payments Agency covers the whole of the UK

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Sectors: Bakery Products, Beverages & Alcoholic Drinks, Brewing, Dairy Products, Food & Drink, Food & Drink Manufacturing, Frozen & Chilled Foods, Meat Products, and Ready Meals
Topics: Getting Started
Export Action Plan