cheese and meat export health certifications

Everything you need to know about Export Health Certificates

If you are planning to export certain foods and animal products from the UK to outside the European Union, an Export Health Certificate or EHC may be required – and they may also be required in the future for trade within the EU depending on what, if any, ‘Brexit’ deal is achieved.

The EHC is an official document that confirms that certain details, animal health standards and regulations have been met – so that food and animal products may be exported.

The EHC must be completed and signed by an OV (Official Veterinarian) appointed by APHA (Animal Plant and Health Agency). The OV must have the correct ‘panel’ assigned to them so they can complete and sign the EHC. For most products, it is panel ‘PX’. To export to certain countries such as China, the OV must also be on the specific list held by that country.

What products do they cover?

There are over 1,500 certificates available, for over 130 countries and they all have slightly different requirements. They are split into a range of commodities:

  • Meat (lamb, pork, beef, poultry, venison – including prime cuts, offal and processed meat products)
  • Dairy (milk, whey, yoghurt, cheese, butter & ice cream)
  • Hides, skins, wool, feathers & lanolin
  • Collagen, gelatin & casings
  • Egg
  • Fish and fishery products
  • Laboratory
  • Pet food and animal feeds
  • Miscellaneous

What information do certificates ask for?

Certificates do vary, but are generally split into several sections:

  1. Identity– confirming details such as the exporter’s details and the quantity and weight of the goods being shipped.
  2. Shipping information – such as the container, seal number and boat/flight details.
  3. Health marks – for example the EU ‘oval mark’ confirms that the product meets EU food standards.
  4. Country of origin – some certificates require proof that the product originated and/or was processed in certain countries.
  5. Storage conditions – such as whether the product needs to be frozen to a certain temperature or kept separate from other goods.
  6. Health statements – these vary from country to country, but can involve confirming details such as heat treatment and freedom from contamination and certain diseases (eg foot and mouth disease, tuberculosis, anthrax). They may also require inspection of production records or written confirmation from the manufacturer or OV at the abattoir or processing plant.

How does the application process work?

The infographic below should help to clarify the step-by-step process (or you can access it here).

EHC info

The exporter must apply to APHA with the draft certificate and application form, which are then printed and sent to the OV, who will inspect the goods, and then check and sign the EHC

The exception is the USA, where the final EHC is issued by APHA based on a draft submitted by the OV.

The timescale will vary with the product and logistics, but in most cases, at least a week should be allowed from application to signing.

What EHC do you need?

You can quickly find out by using our handy export certification tool on our website

How can you get further advice?

Call our team for an initial chat about your export needs on 07765 642 273 or 0161 929 1887.




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