Guidance

Export or move animal feed or pet food

Check if you need a certificate to export animal feed or pet food, and other rules you must follow.

This guidance applies to businesses in Great Britain (GB) (England, Scotland and Wales) exporting or moving animal feed and pet food to, or through:

  • the EU
  • non-EU countries
  • Northern Ireland (NI)

You need an export health certificate (EHC) to export animal feed and pet food made from products of animal origin(POAO).

You may also need a certificate of free sale if you’re exporting to non-EU countries. The food authority in the country you’re exporting to will tell you if you need one.

You need to follow different rules if you’re exporting animal feed or pet food that contains animal by-products (ABP).

Export or move live animal feed and pet food to the EU or NI

You need an EHC to:

You also need to:

General exporting rules

Make sure you follow wider business guidance for exporting to the EU.

Check if you need an EHC

Check the EHC finder to see if a certificate exists for your animal feed or pet food.

If you find an EHC, follow the EHC process to export.

If you cannot find an EHC, you’ll need to contact the competent authority in NI or the EU country you’re exporting to, in advance, to find out what:

  • paperwork you’ll need to fill in
  • rules you need to comply with

The competent authority means the equivalent of the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs in the EU country you’re exporting to. DAERA is the competent authority in NI.

If the competent authority says that you need an EHC, you’ll need to get their import conditions. Contact APHA who’ll arrange an EHC for you.

If you’re moving agrifood goods to NI, you do not need to pay for them to be inspected and certified. The certifier invoices the government for these costs as part of the Movement Assistance Scheme.

Checks at EU BCPs or point(s) of entry in NI

You must get animal feed or pet food containing products of animal origin (POAO) checked at an EU BCP or point of entry in NI.

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 an EU port without a BCP or EU BCP or NI point of entry:

  • where checks cannot be carried out
  • that cannot check your type of product
  • without the correct documentation

Find the correct BCP or NI point of entry for your goods

You must find a BCP or NI point of entry that accepts animal feed or pet food containing POAO as not all BCPs and points of entry 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.

Check the full list of full list of EU BCPs and NI points of entry.

Give advance notice to EU BCPs or point(s) 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 Trade Control and Expert System (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 an EU BCP or NI point of entry

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 or point of entry will:

  • notify your importer or agent
  • ask them to decide whether your goods should be destroyed or returned to GB

The BCP or point of entry will not usually contact you directly.

EU listing for exporters and suppliers

You need to be listed as an approved business with the EU if you export food that contains POAO.

If you would like your establishment to be listed, contact the ABP team on 03000 200 301 or email them at CSCOneHealthABP@apha.gov.uk.

Export to non-EU countries

You usually need to complete an EHC and some supporting documents to export animal feed and pet food that contains POAO to non-EU countries.

You may also need a certificate of free sale.The country you’re exporting to will tell you if you need one.

Check the EHC finder to see if a certificate exists for your product.

If you find an EHC, follow the EHC process to export.

If you cannot find an EHC for your product, you’ll need to contact the competent authority in the EU country you’re exporting to, in advance, to find out what:

  • paperwork you’ll need to fill in
  • rules you need to comply with

If the competent authority says that you need an EHC, you’ll need to get their import conditions. Email the conditions to APHA at exports@apha.gov.uk who’ll arrange an EHC for you.

Apply for a certificate of free sale

To apply for a certificate of free sale you should:

  • save a copy of the application form (MS Word Document, 128KB) to your computer
  • fill in all relevant parts, then email it to trader@rpa.gov.uk

Valid forms are processed within 5 working days of receiving them. You should allow 10 working days from sending your application to receiving your certificate(s) back.

It’s free to apply and the certificates do not expire unless the country you’re exporting to specifies a time limit.

If you need help

Contact the Rural Payments Agency (RPA). Rural Payments Agency Telephone: 03300 416 500 Monday to Friday: 8:30am to 5pm Find out about call charges.

Export feed made from animal products to non-EU countries via an EU country

Animal feed containing POAO destined for non-EU countries that transit the EU will need an:

  • EU Transit Certificate, held on the EHC finder - if you cannot find one, contact APHA
  • EHC for the final destination (the non-EU country)

You’ll need an EU importer who will take responsibility for the consignment while it’s transiting the EU.

You’ll also need to check HMRC guidance on any customs declarations you’ll need to make.

Published 10 November 2016
Last updated 6 January 2021 + show all updates
  1. Removed the sections on returned and rejected goods as not applicable to animal feed and pet food.

  2. Information added to explain the changes to the exports process from 1 Jan 2021.

  3. Application form updated to be made accessible

  4. This guidance has highlighted Brexit update link, and streamlined content for ease of reading.

  5. Added information for exporters about how to get an export health certificate if the UK leaves the EU without a deal.

  6. EHC list updated

  7. Export Health Certificate list updated.

  8. EHC List updated

  9. First published.