If you are looking to export food or other products of animal origin from the UK, then you may well need an Export Health Certificate (EHC).

What is an Export Health Certificate (EHC)?

An Export Health Certificate (EHC) is an official UK Government document, issued by the Centre for International Trade in Carlisle. This is a division of APHA, which is part of DEFRA. The EHC is signed by an official veterinarian (OV), that confirms that certain food or animal products meet the import requirements of another country.

The EHC provides assurance to the importing country that about the identity of the consignment and that certain health standards and regulations have been met.

We are authorised to sign these documents on the Government’s behalf, through our network of official veterinarians who are appointed to the animal product exports panel (referred to as panel PX).


What commodities do they cover?

There are over 1,000 certificates available, for over 130 countries, but all have slightly different requirements.

What information do the certificates ask for?

Certificates are generally split into several basic sections:

  • Identity – confirms basic details such as the name of the exporter and quantity and weight of goods being shipped.
  • Shipping information – such as the container, seal number and boat or flight details, as well as the Border Control Post (BCP) of entry.
  • Health marks – for example the ‘health or identity mark’ confirms that the product meets EU/GB food standards.
  • Country of origin – some certificates require proof that the product originated and was processed in certain countries.
  • Storage conditions – such as whether the product needs to be frozen to a certain temperature or kept separate from other goods.
  • Health statements – these vary by country, but can involve confirming details such as heat treatment and freedom from certain diseases.

What supporting evidence is required?

We will also require supporting documentation, such as production records, written declarations from the manufacturer, or a vet at the abattoir or processing plant. These give us the assurance that what we are certifying is accurate. We can also help advise on, and prepare, these documents.

How does the application process work?

Exporter registers on the Government’s EHCO system.

The exporter applies for an EHC, which gets sent to the OV; most are by email but some are still sent by post.
The OV will obtain any supporting documentation, visits site and inspects the goods, and then signs and stamps the EHC. The original is then given to the exporter, with copies kept on file.

Where do I start?

Whether you are a new or an experienced exporter, we are here for you. We offer a tailor-made approach, so if you need guiding through the whole process from start to finish, or just need an OV to turn up at your site to check and sign the EHC, or anything in between, we can help. Whatever you want to send, wherever you want to send it – if it can be done, then we will help you to get it there.