Like people, animals are subject to certain diseases. These can, for example, affect the quality of the meat, milk, or even the skin. As well as affecting the cosmetic appearance of the product, they can also make them unfit for human consumption.
Therefore, animal health plays a significant impact on food exports, but thankfully, at Amivet, our experienced veterinary team have the knowledge and skills to ensure that your products are certified and safe to export.
How will customers know that my food exports are safe?
Export Health Certificates (EHCs) are confirmation by the OV (official veterinarian) that the food or animal product is safe to eat or use, with strict procedures in place ensure that thorough checks are carried out throughout the certification process.
Products that require an EHC (or ‘vet cert’), include, but are not limited to; red meat, white meat, processed meat (sausages, burgers etc), offal, tripe and meat products (eg feet, wings). Additionally, dairy products eg milk, cream, whey, butter, yogurt, baby food, cooking sauces, custard and rice pudding may also require an EHC.
EHCs could also be required for animal products such as hides, skins, feathers, and wool, gelatin, collagen and casings, laboratory samples and pet food.
If you’re looking to find out more about Export Health Certificates, you can use our free tool to find out which EHCs you need for your products. You can also click here for an example of what an export certificate looks like.
What steps are taken to ensure that animals are free from disease when the EHC is issued?
The first step is the EHC. Often these require confirmation that the country of origin is free from certain animal diseases eg foot and mouth disease or lumpy skin disease.
In the UK, this information comes from APHA, who issue a form 618. This gives us authority to sign the EHC to confirm that animal products are free from these diseases.
When exporting elsewhere, we use the WAHID (World Animal Health Information Database), which is provided by the OIE (Office International des Epizooties). We may also get confirmation from the Government of the country of origin.
What kind of things are importing countries looking for when it comes to food exports from the UK?
For dairy based products, they usually need confirmation that it is free from foot and mouth disease, lumpy skin disease and rinderpest (cattle plague – now considered eradicated).
Hide exports often need to be clear of anthrax, foot and mouth disease and pox virus
Meat exports may need to be free from foot and mouth, rabies, anthrax, swine fever, brucellosis and tuberculosis, among others.
How important is traceability when it comes to animal health?
Diseases are usually picked up by vets, OVs and meat inspectors on the farm or at slaughter. If a disease is identified, it may need to be reported. Some diseases are ‘notifiable’, meaning there is a statutory requirement to notify the Government, who must then take action. This may include quarantine, movement restrictions, vaccination, or slaughter and disposal of the meat/milk/carcass etc. Therefore, we must know the origin of the products and the date of production to enable this to be traced.
What is the current animal health situation in the UK?
The UK is currently free of many diseases, but is affected by tuberculosis – therefore dairy products usually need pasteurisation to eliminate this. There were also some outbreaks of ‘bird flu’ (HPAI) in Preston and Scotland, which are still affecting some exports, and the region of origin within the UK needs to be known to be able to proceed.
How can you get expert advice?
As each EHC is country and product specific, the above is general information only. For up to date and detailed further information, call our team of qualified export vets on 07765 642 273 or 0161 929 1887. Alternatively you can email us at firstname.lastname@example.org