Export groups of products of animal origin: use 30-day support attestations to prove health and traceability
Exporters of groups of products of animal origin (POAO) to the EU and Northern Ireland can join the groupage export facilitation scheme (GEFS) to use 30-day support attestations.
The government and the EU have agreed the Windsor Framework. You should continue to use this guidance for now. It will be updated in due course, giving you time to prepare for any changes.
30-day support attestations (SAs) provide evidence that’s valid for 30 days that groups of products of animal origin (POAO) from your supplier meet health and traceability requirements of export health certificates (EHCs).
Exporting or moving groups of products is known as groupage.
Certifying officers can use a 30-day SA instead of separate SAs when they certify export health certificates (EHCs).
To use 30-day SAs when you export or move groups of POAO you need to:
- join the groupage export facilitation scheme (GEFS)
- use suppliers who must be inspected and provide evidence their products meet certain requirements
You or your supplier may be able to get reimbursed for some of the costs of 30-day support attestations for groups of POAO moving from Great Britain to Northern Ireland.
When you can use a 30-day SA for your products
You can use a 30-day SA when you export or move groups of the following POAO:
- composite products
- processed meat products, including gelatine
- meat preparations
- processed milk and matured or processed dairy products
- fish or fisheries products
- eggs or egg products
- frogs’ legs
- snails and bivalve molluscs
- processed pet food
You cannot use 30-day SAs to export or move:
- fresh meat
- raw milk
- products of animal origin not for human consumption (except processed pet food)
Package products for sale to the final consumer
Products must be fully packaged for sale to the final consumer at the point when an inspecting officer issues the 30-day SA. This includes products that will be:
- re-packaged directly at the point of sale to the final consumer
- unpacked in a food-service environment and cut or reheated at the point of sale to the final consumer
You cannot use 30-day SAs to export or move products that need further processing.
Ways you can export groups of products
You can export groups of POAO in the following ways:
- as different types of products in a single container
- the same type of product from different suppliers, grouped in the same container
- multiple products of the same type grouped as a single consignment
Apply to join GEFS
To join GEFS you need to:
- complete the application form
- email the completed form to GEFSteam@apha.gov.uk
You must include the following information about each supplier that you’re using for GEFS with your application:
- the registered address
- the address of the warehouse or factory where the goods are sent from if this is different from the registered address
- a description of the goods you receive from each supplier
- how long each supplier has been supplying you with each type of goods
- confirmation the goods are pre-packed, or ready to be re-packaged at the point of sale for the final consumer
The Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra) will usually email you within 5 working days to confirm you’ve been accepted to join the scheme. You should keep the email to prove you’re a member.
Once you’ve joined GEFS, your business will be added to the list of members.
Certifying officers will check you’re listed as a member of GEFS when they sign export health certificates.
Suppliers you can use
You can only use suppliers that:
- are listed as approved businesses to export to the EU
- supply you with goods from a UK business address - you cannot include suppliers who are located outside the UK
- have a stable supply chain - suppliers will need to give evidence of this when they apply for the 30-day SA
You must give a list of your suppliers to a certifying officer if they ask for it.
How your supplier can get a 30-day SA
To get a 30-day SA that you can use, suppliers must get their premises inspected.
Suppliers will need to contact the inspecting officer to arrange the inspection.
Inspecting officers are registered vets, food competent certifying officers (FCCOs), or certification support officers (CSOs).
Suppliers should check if the inspecting officer is able to issue a 30-day SA for their products.
Suppliers’ premises will be inspected each time they get a 30-day SA.
Suppliers should arrange for the inspecting officer to visit their premises at least every 3 months.
Evidence suppliers need to give to the inspecting officer
Suppliers should complete the supplier declaration section of the 30-day SA template to provide the information to the inspecting officer.
They’ll need to give the following evidence at the first inspection:
- accurate supply chain, health, traceability and processing records for their products, for the last 6 months
- evidence to show they’ve not made changes that affect information certified in the EHC in the last 30 calendar days - for example, a change to heat treatments
- evidence to show they’ve not made changes that affect information certified in the EHC in at least 4 of the previous 6 months
They can make changes to:
- meet new export requirements
- manage disruption as a result of COVID-19
They may need to give other evidence. They should agree what evidence they need to give with the inspecting officer.
Signing the 30-day SA
The SA must be signed by:
- an authorised person who represents the supplier
- the inspecting officer
The authorised person must:
- understand and be responsible for production, transport and storage processes
- be authorised in writing by the managing director (or equivalent) of the supplier to sign on behalf of the company
You can use a 30-day SA from the date of inspection up to and including the expiry date.
Unique reference numbers
The supplier must add a unique reference number to each original SA.
They should use the following format to create the reference number:
- Unique supplier number.
- Sequential number.
- Unique number for vet signing your SA.
For example: 15435/0000001/m159607/2021.
Documents suppliers must include with products they send you
During the 30 days the SA is valid for, the supplier must include signed commercial documents and batch specific information with every consignment they send to you. The commercial document must include the following wording:
“The evidence required to facilitate export of the products in this consignment has been provided in support attestation [insert unique reference number]. No changes have been made that affect the validity of the information provided in this support attestation.”
Get an EHC
You need an EHC for each consignment you’re exporting.
Checks on consignments
A certifying officer will carry out document and physical checks for each consignment before they sign the EHC.
They’ll use the 30-day SA to check the:
- species and origin of animal products
- methods used for processing of animal products
- approval or registration status of the suppliers
The certifying officer will also carry out checks on a sample of the products to make sure the information provided in the 30-day SA is correct.
They’ll check the product:
- description matches that declared by the supplier
- is fully packaged for the final consumer
- has identification marking that matches the description in the SA
Certifying officers may also carry out:
- a physical inspection of the manufacturing or processing site
- random and risk-based spot checks
Certifying officers are official vets (OV) or food competent certifying officers (FCCOs).
Checks on compliance with GEFS
Defra will carry out an audit to check that you and your suppliers are complying with GEFS.
Defra will ask you for a sample of:
- paperwork demonstrating stability of the supply chain
You’ll have a maximum of one audit every 12 months.
You may be suspended or removed from GEFS if:
- they do not comply with the audit process
- evidence of non-compliance is found during the audit
If you’re removed from the scheme and want to appeal, email APHA at GEFSteam@apha.gov.uk
You may be able to re-join GEFS if you can provide evidence that you and your suppliers will comply with the rules.
Last updated 21 February 2023 + show all updates
Updated information on when a 30 day support attestation can be used to remove the specific reference to 31 December 2023.
GEFS email address has changed to GEFSteam@apha.gov.uk
Updated guidance to explain GEFS is open until December 2023, and how exporters can apply for the scheme.
New guidance about Food Competent Certifying Officers (FCCOs) added to the 'Requirements for exporters' section.