Imports, exports and EU trade of animals and animal products: topical issues
- Department for Environment, Food & Rural Affairs and Animal and Plant Health Agency
- Part of:
- Guidance on importing and exporting live animals or animal products
- First published:
- 23 March 2015
- Last updated:
- 24 November 2016, see all updates
Current issues relating to imports and exports of animals and animal products.
This page provides details on particular issues or changes that importers and exporters may need to be aware of. You can read a collection of all our guidance on importing and exporting live animals or animal products.
Our animal disease monitoring collection covers major, notifiable or new and emerging animal disease outbreaks internationally and in the UK.
Avian influenza (bird flu) outside the UK
This section was updated on 24 November 2016.
Cases of Highly Pathogenic Avian Influenza (HPAI) have been reported in the EU and within third countries (countries outside the EU).
During the autumn of 2016, multiple cases of highly pathogenic avian influenza of subtype H5N8 have been found in wild birds and domestic poultry in several countries across Europe. Most of the wild birds affected are waterfowl. Domestic species affected include chickens, ducks, geese and turkeys.
During the end of 2015 and early part of 2016, France reported multiple outbreaks of H5 HPAI, involving three different virus strains (H5N1, H5N2 and H5N9). Most of the birds affected were “fattened” ducks and geese in mostly commercial and some backyard holdings.
Our avian influenza (bird flu) guide covers how to spot to the disease and what to do if you suspect it.
Avian influenza (bird flu) in the UK
This section was updated on 7 July 2016.
The UK has been officially free of Notifiable Avian Influenza since 7 July 2016. The UK previously declared itself free from highly pathogenic avian influenza (HPAI) on 17 February 2016. This is in line with the requirements of the OIE Terrestrial Animal Health Code. The Avian influenza: UK Declaration of Freedom from Highly Pathogenic Avian Influenza (PDF, 121KB, 1 page) was issued on 17 February 2016.
Our avian influenza (bird flu) guide covers recent cases in the UK.
Chronic wasting disease
This section was published on 24 November 2016.
Norwegian authorities have reported five cases of Chronic Wasting Disease - three in wild reindeer and two in European moose (or elk). Surveillance continues during the winter hunting season.
Control measures include a ban on trade of reindeer and other cervid species from Norway to EU Member States. The movement of cervids from Finland and Sweden should only take place if approved by the destination Member State.
Ban on import of deer urine, faeces and lures into the UK
The import into the UK of the following products is prohibited: unprocessed deer urine, faeces, and lures obtained from deer for commercial or personal use for deer hunting, or other deer attracting activities which contain the above animal by-products.
The import into the UK of products manufactured in, or produced from, products from the USA, Canada, South Korea and Norway, where CWD is present, are prohibited. Imports are only permitted from countries free from Chronic Wasting Disease (CWD) under certain conditions.
An Importer Information Note (ABP IIN 44) explains the ban and the procedure to follow to import processed products.
Lumpy skin disease in Europe
This section was published on 24 November 2016.
Several countries in Southeast Europe confirmed multiple outbreaks of Lumpy Skin Disease in bovine holdings. Protection and surveillance zones have been established, and vaccination has been widely applied to control the spread during the vector season.
To prevent the spread of disease, restrictions have been put in place on movements from the affected areas of:
- live bovine animals and wild ruminants
- bovine genetic material
- fresh meat produced from bovine animals, and meat preparations and meat products produced from such fresh meat
- milk and dairy products from bovine animals
- unprocessed animal by-products of bovine animals
Lumpy skin disease affects cattle and water buffalo. It is thought to be spread by biting flies and mosquitoes, which feed on the skin lesions. You can read more about how to spot and report the disease.
Several Preliminary Outbreak Assessments have been published. To date, the only EU Member States to be affected are Greece and Bulgaria but other countries are also reporting disease. The onset of cooler temperatures over winter should slow the rate of spread of disease.
Crabs to China and Hong Kong: residue testing
This section was updated on 18 May 2016.
Trade in live brown crabs to China re-commenced in April 2016.
The Chinese MLC for cadmium is 0.5 mg/kg. This is set out in China National Food Safety Standard GB 2762-2012: Maximum Levels of Contaminants in Food
A new methodology for determining cadmium levels in foods came into effect on 28 July 2015. The methodology entitled Food Safety National Standard – Determination of cadmium in foods (GB 5009.15-2014) replaces GB/T 5009.15-2003 “Determination of cadmium in foods”.
Hong Kong authorities have introduced restrictions on the import of brown crabs exported from Anglesey in Wales. We advise that exports of brown crabs, from Anglesey, should not be sent to Hong Kong until the situation is resolved.
Restrictions on trade of agricultural commodities to the Russian Federation
This section was updated on 14 August 2015.
The Russian Federation has imposed a ban on the import of a number of agricultural commodities from the whole of the EU including the UK and also the USA, Canada, Australia and Norway.
The ban was originally imposed on 7 August 2014. On 25 June 2015, Russia decided to prolong the ban until August 2016. The commission website has more information.
The ban took effect immediately. The ban covers many agricultural products, raw materials, plants and foodstuffs including most meat, dairy and fish.
If you need to check whether a particular product is affected, please contact us.
Withdrawal of Export Health Certificates
In the light of this, APHA and the Department of Agriculture and Rural Development (DARD) in Northern Ireland have withdrawn all Export Health Certificates for the animals and animal products affected, for the duration of this ban. This also applies to consignments of these commodities that are transiting through the Russian Federation to another destination.
We strongly advise all exporters who intend to send any consignments to the Russian Federation to seek and obtain assurances from importers in the Russian Federation that the consignment will be accepted. Where consignments of live animals are being sent to the Russian Federation, exporters are strongly advised, before the consignment is dispatched, to seek and obtain assurances from the importer in the Russian Federation that it will be accepted. Exporters should be aware that if consignments of live animals are blocked at the border of the Russian Federation, under EU law, re-entry into the UK or any other member state is not permitted. Exceptions may be considered in specific cases.
You should regularly check the latest guidance from the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills and the Foreign and Commonwealth Office in relation to exporting to the Russian Federation.
Contact the Centre for International Trade (CIT) Carlisle for advice about imports and exports to and from Great Britain
Exporters in Northern Ireland should contact:
- Department of Agriculture and Rural Development Northern Ireland (DARDNI)
- Telephone: 0300 200 7840
- email: email@example.com
Published: 23 March 2015
Updated: 24 November 2016
- Updated information about avian influenza (bird flu) outside the UK, lumpy skin disease in Europe and chronic wasting disease in Norway.
- Added information on the UK becoming officially free of notifiable avian influenza.
- Published an update on lumpy skin disease in Bulgaria and updated content under other headings.
- Avian influenza (bird flu) section updated: the UK has today declared itself free from highly pathogenic avian influenza.
- Updated the section on Avian influenza (bird flu) in the UK.
- Updated the section on: Avian influenza (bird flu) outside the UK
- Avian Influenza section updated as final cleansing has now been done.
- Added new section on Lumpy skin disease in Greece. Removed the section on changes to the import requirements of intermediate products.
- We've made a further about to the information about exports of crabs to Hong Kong.
- Updated the section dealing with export of live crabs to China and Hong Kong.
- Updated to reflect lifting of avian influenza (bird flu) restrictions in Lancashire on 16 August 2015.
- Updated Restrictions on trade of agricultural commodities to the Russian Federation as ban has been extended to 2016.
- Avian influenza: United Kingdom (UK) notification of regionalisation added.
- Added line on outbreak of avian influenza in the commune of Herzlake, Lower Saxony, Germany.
- Section on bird flu in the UK updated to reflect a confirmed case at a farm in Lancashire. Page reordered - it now leads with the most recently updated item.
- Section on bird flu in the UK updated to reflect a suspect case at a farm in Lancashire.
- Amended the following sections: Avian Influenza (AI) outbreaks in the UK: availability of Export Health Certificates; Low Pathogenic Outbreak of Avian Influenza in the UK.
- Updated the Live crabs to China: residue testing section.
- Added information around horse imports from third countries.
- Added information about a new methodology for determining cadmium levels in foods.
- Added information about live crab exports to China.
- First published.