Here at Amivet we frequently get enquiries from people wanting to export all sorts of things and we will always try to help where we can, or point people in the right direction if it is outside of our remit. Occasionally, we do get the odd ‘oops’ moment.
There are 1,500 export health certificates available to over 130 different countries. Beyond the typical meat, dairy, fish, pet food and hides there are some very unusual certificates, eg.
We would always advise that you contact us at an early stage in the process, as getting accurate information in the first instance can make things go more quickly and can actually save money in the end.
The following examples tell of exports that haven’t gone as smoothly as they could have done. Hopefully lessons have been learned for next time. They are all based on true stories but names have been changed to avoid embarrassment!
Dairy to China
Jane contacted us to say they had made some vegetarian burgers, containing milk and cheese that they wanted to export to China. We advised that they needed to use EHC 6288 and that the milk must be of UK origin only and the manufacturer CNCA approved. Unfortunately, milk from Republic of Ireland had been used and although perfectly safe to eat, this did not comply with the EHC requirements. The burgers had to be destroyed or sold elsewhere and a new batch made, with UK sourced milk. This meant a delay to export and increased costs.
Cheese to South Africa
Pete had bought some large truckles of cheddar cheese to export to South Africa. He had a valid import permit and the countries of origin and pasteurisation details were all correct. However, there is a clause in the EHC stating that there are no other products of animal origin except milk – which means that any rennet used must be vegetarian. This was not the case here, so he had to go back to the supplier and source different cheddar. Again this caused increased costs and a delay.
Cornish pasties to USA
Jack, who ran a Cornish pasty manufacturing company, had a potential new customer in the USA. He rang us to see if we could provide the EHC. We checked into this and looked at EHC 1631. However this allows only cuts of pork meat from approved premises only, so we had to tell him that sadly he was unable to export a product containing minced beef to the USA.
Bakery goods to USA
Oliver’s company made various types of baked buns that they wanted to export to USA. The buns included milk and egg. They had an import permit, but it was very strictly worded with regard to the origin of the eggs and the transit route taken, with regard to outbreaks of avian influenza and Newcastle disease. The eggs are sourced from France and we therefore have to check the exact origin and transit route taken for each batch and check the WAHIS database for disease outbreaks, before every EHC can be signed. This involves more work and time and hence can lead to delay. Should there be more AI/ND outbreaks in France in the future, then we may not be able to certify these items.
Ice cream to Australia
Harold had a shipment of ice cream to go by sea to Australia. The import permit and all the documentation were correct and in order. One of our vets visited their site to physically see the goods – this was carried out as a ‘pre-inspection’ before the date of export. However, they didn’t advise us when the goods were being shipped and they ended up leaving UK before the EHC was signed. We are unable to sign EHCs once goods have left UK. In this case, APHA at Carlisle were very helpful and allowed a ‘cancel and replace’ certificate to be issued on a one off basis. The company had to set up an SOP to ensure this could not happen again.
Malted milk drink to South Africa
Ryan had bought a large amount of a branded malted milk drink from a wholesaler, rather than direct from the manufacturer. He wanted to export this to South Africa and had a valid import permit. On checking the certificate requirements, we needed to know the countries of origin of the milk and the heat processing details of how it was manufactured. The manufacturer was unwilling to supply this information to either us, or the exporter, citing commercial sensitivity. Hence we could not sign the EHC. We never got round to finding out what happened to the product or whether Ryan got bored of drinking it before bedtime!
We occasionally get panic phone calls from companies who have already shipped their goods or whose goods have arrived in port and been detained. Where we have never seen the goods, no EHC has been applied for and no permit has been issued, then there is not a lot we can do. Usually the goods end up being destroyed. If economically viable, it may be possible re reimport them back into UK (assuming they meet the import conditions) and we can start the process – but it will mean huge extra costs and time delays for you.
So please get in touch early on in the process….