The Government is urging farms and agri-food businesses to prepare for changes to animal imports and exports in a ‘no-deal’ Brexit.

It’s hoped the series of guidance documents published this week will help minimise disruption and allow the movement of livestock and animal produce to continue.

A Defra spokesman said: “In the event of ‘no-deal’, to continue to export to the EU we will need to be listed by the EU as a third country. Negotiations are underway to secure this listing and we are confident it will be in place before we leave the EU.”

In a no-deal exit the process for exporting and importing the products such as fish, dairy, livestock and other animal produce will change in the following ways:

Export Health Certificate (EHC)

Businesses exporting all animals, animal products and fish to the EU will now need to apply for an Export Health Certificate (EHC) before they export.

This will make them the same as businesses who export these goods to the rest of the world who already have to apply for EHCs.

They will also need to make sure their trade route passes through a Border Inspection Posts when entering Europe as well as being aware of wider customs requirements. The guidance and certificates are available for download from today ahead of use on exit day.


For those businesses importing to the UK, guidance is also available on the Defra website. There will not be any new checks or requirements but importers will need to notify authorities using a new process.

Businesses will need to use a new system called the Import of Products, Animals, Food and Feed System’ (IPAFFS).

The system requires details of imports to be declared at least 24 hours before arrival. It’s hoped this will help to minimise disruption for users while helping to maintain biosecurity and food safety.

Importing food and feed from EU countries

Businesses importing animals and animal products from within the EU will need to use a separate interim system until the summer. Until then, for EU imports importers will need to use a form downloaded from

Food and Animal Welfare Minister David Rutley said: “Our top priority remains to deliver a negotiated deal, but it is the job of a responsible Government to ensure we are prepared for all scenarios, including no deal.

If you or your business export or import animals and animal products or imports high-risk food and feed you will need to prepare for a number of changes in the event of a no-deal Brexit.

“Our new guidance pages on make clear what you need to do to be ready to continue to trade after we leave the EU.”

To summarise the guidance published, those who export animals, animal products and fish should:

  • Download EHC certificates;
  • Arrange inspections by an authorised signatory for the EHC, such as an Official Veterinarian, in advance of exports;
  • Familiarise themselves with the Government’s new helpful tool to find authorised signatories in England, Scotland and Wales;
  • Review the current list of EU Border Inspection Posts on to help plan journeys; and
  • If exporting most fish and fish products between the UK and EU you will need a catch certificate.

The IPAFFS system, which will replicate the EU Trade Control and Expert System (TRACES) process, which is currently used by importers to notify authorities of imports of animal products, and high-risk food and feed from non-EU countries, will be operational for businesses importing from outside the EU on Day One.

Businesses importing animals and animal products from within the EU will need to use a separate interim system until the summer.