Exporting animals and animal products in a no-deal Brexit

What you'll need to export animals, products of animal origin and animal by-products in a no-deal Brexit.

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Exports to the EU from the UK

You need to follow different guidance for:

Animals, products of animal origin or germplasm

To transport these products from the UK to the EU in a no-deal Brexit, you’ll need:

If you’re exporting live animals, meat or dairy, you can view flowcharts with the steps you need to take.

You’ll also need to follow new rules on identifying livestock, if you want to export sheep, cattle, goats and pigs to the EU in a no-deal Brexit.

You should read additional rules if you:

  • export composite food products to the EU
  • want to check if your product counts as a composite food product

Animal by-products

To export animal by-products (ABP), you’ll need to check the export health certificate (EHC) finder to get either:

If you cannot find either of these for your product type, you’ll need to contact the competent authority in the EU country where your consignment is going - this means the equivalent of the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra) in that country. They will send you the paperwork you’ll need to fill in.

You’ll also need to comply with HMRC guidance on customs requirements for exporting to the EU.

Some ABPs need to go through a BIP. You can confirm this by checking the EU list of products which must be inspected by a vet at a BIP.

If your ABP needs to go through a BIP you must make sure that your:

If your ABP does not need to go through a BIP, you must make sure that your EU-based import agent notifies the:

  • competent authority of the EU state that your consignment is going to
  • EU port or airport, within the time limits set out by the competent authority

Exports to non-EU countries (third countries) from the UK

There’s unlikely to be any change to the current export rules and processes for countries outside the EU. Make sure you check the existing guidance on exporting live animals.

Consignments destined for non-EU countries that transit the EU will need both an:

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.

Border and customs offices

Goods will only be able to enter the EU through a BIP designated for the specific consignment.

BIPs are currently being built to be ready for when the UK leaves the EU. Check the list of existing BIPs in the EU and consider how to redirect your trade route if necessary.

You should contact your import agent in the EU to make sure that they notify the BIP through the EU’s Trade Control and Expert System (TRACES) of the arrival of their consignment.

An EU BIP requires advance notice of goods arriving - check with the BIP for how much notice is needed.

EU listing of the UK and its establishments

The European Commission has agreed to list the UK as a ‘third country’, if there’s a no-deal Brexit. This means you’ll continue to be able to export the following to the EU:

  • live animals
  • germplasm
  • POAO
  • ABPs

EU listing for exporters and suppliers

You’ll need to be listed as an approved establishment with the EU if you either:

The European Commission has confirmed that the current list of UK animal by-product and germplasm premises will be accepted in a no-deal Brexit.

Documents for transporters

Documents issued by the UK will only be valid in the UK and not in EU countries.

Read the Department for Transport guidance for more information.

Other export requirements

Before exporting, businesses must:

Trade agreements

Where replacement trade agreements are not agreed, trade would take place on World Trade Organization (WTO) terms with that country.

The temporary tariff policy announced in March would apply to all UK imports from countries the UK does not have trading arrangements in place with, including the EU.

Find out which non-EU countries the UK has trading arrangements with.

Find out which new trade agreements will be in place if there’s a no-deal Brexit.

Published 20 February 2019
Last updated 14 October 2019 + show all updates
  1. Updated information on third country listing.
  2. Link to rules on composite food products added.
  3. Added new link to Food Standards Agency guidance on how to become listed to export products of animal origin to the EU in a no-deal Brexit. Also added new link to how to identify livestock in a no-deal Brexit.
  4. Added link to the process maps collection
  5. Extra information has been added about products which transit through the EU to be exported to a non-EU country. Link added to show FSA list of approved establishments.
  6. Updated information on how to check which animal by-products need to go through a BIP in a no-deal Brexit.
  7. Updated links to HMRC guidance on exporting after Brexit. Highlighted how to stay up to date with Brexit changes. Streamlined guidance to make it easier to follow.
  8. Content relating to fish and fishery products has been removed and users should instead visit
  9. Updated information about the UK's application for third-country status.
  10. Added links to the model declarations needed to export animal by-products used for medicines and cosmetics, and untreated wool and hair
  11. Updated to add that the EU has now listed the UK as a ‘third country’.
  12. Added information about exporting animal byproducts.
  13. Updated to include information on trade agreements if the UK leaves the EU without a deal.
  14. First published.