Importing products of animal origin

Importing products of animal origin

To import products of animal origin (POAO) from third countries, you must check your supplier is approved and pre-notify the Border Inspection Post (BIP) at the port where the goods are expected to arrive.

Pre-shipping checks

All POAO entering the European Union (EU) must come from countries that have been approved and meet . These are certified by ‘competent authorities’ – usually government departments or agencies – in the originating country. Within the approved country, suppliers of some POAO, such as meat, also need to be approved for EU trade. However, suppliers of other products, such as eggs, do not need approval.

You should ensure that the consignment can meet all the public and animal health rules for import.  The country should have an approved residue plan and should not be subject to any restrictions for animal diseases or other health risks.

Find a list of countries which are authorised to import POAO on the Europa website – Opens in a new window.

Find approved establishments outside the EU for POAO on the Europa website – Opens in a new window.

Find specific requirements for importing each type of POAO on the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra) website – Opens in a new window.

As an importer, you have a number of . These include the safety and traceability of your goods, prevention of disease and the withdrawal of products where necessary. You can see an overview of your legal responsibilities as an importer of POAO on the Food Standards Agency (FSA) website – Opens in a new window.

You should also ensure that your health certificates are ready for presentation with the correct support documentation, at the right point in time to the authorities. See the page in this guide on import checks on products of animal origin. 

Get your goods to the point of import

You must import your third country POAO through appropriate BIPs where the environmental health officers and vets working in the BIP will check them. You must ensure the BIP you choose will accept your goods as not all BIPs accept every type of POAO. You can check which BIPs accept your type of POAO on the Defra website – Opens in a new window.

You must pre-notify the BIP of an incoming consignment in advance. If you do not pre-notify the BIPs of incoming consignments, your goods may be rejected and you will have to re-export them or destroy them at your own expense.

You can make the notification in two ways. You can complete Part A of a Common Veterinary Entrance Document (CVED) which you can obtain from the port health authority managing the appropriate BIP. Alternatively, you can use the online service to complete Part 1 of the CVED. You can find out about using TRACES in our guide to using TRACES to trade in animal and animal products.

You can do this yourself or use an agent, such as a freight forwarder. For further information see our guide on choosing and managing a freight forwarder.

Contractual considerations

Once your goods arrive at the BIP, they will be subject to checks before they can be released. See the page in this guide on import checks on products of animal origin.

It’s essential that you take into account the possibility of goods being rejected at the border when drawing up contracts with your suppliers. POAO are often perishable, so if they’re rejected at the border the goods may have to be destroyed. It’s a good idea to clarify in writing who in your supply chain is responsible for ensuring the paperwork is completed on time, as well as to work closely with your suppliers to minimise the risks of rejection, and ensure you don’t have to pay for rejected goods.

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