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Exporting from Great Britain

Guidance, requirements and restrictions on exporting goods internationally from Great Britain now we have left the EU.

Local authority export health certificate

This certificate is issued and signed by the local authority. It is only for products and countries not on the Animal and Plant Health Agency (APHA) list.

Local Authority Export Health Certificates are sometimes required by the government of the importing country.  They are often requested by the import agent or the importer as part of their traceability and food safety management systems. 

The council does not currently provide this service but may do so in the future, so please check back for further updates.

In the meantime, if you require an Export Health Certificate, you can find further information on how to obtain a stamped certificate on

Exporting - check your market

Before you decide to export, you first need to consider the import conditions of the country you are exporting to. Find useful information and contacts from:

The UK Government has strong links with many countries. The Commercial Attaché at the British Embassy or High Commission in that country may be able to provide additional information.  

You can also contact the Commercial Attaché at the Embassy or High Commission of the country you wish to export to.


Exporting now we have left the EU

GOV.UK transition tells you what changes have been made now we have left the EU.  

One important change is when you are trading with other EU/EEA countries. Previously, exports to the EU/EEA did not usually require any form of health certification as these were determined to be free trade. However since the transition period, this has changed. 

Non-APHA export health certificates

We can now issue two types of certificate. These are only for products and countries not on the Animal and Plant Health Agency (APHA) list. For information on health certificates we can issue after 1st January 2021 go to:

APHA export health certificates 

Some countries have specific health certificates that must be issued and others do not.  These forms are sometimes called "APHA Health Certificates".  APHA means the Animal and Plant Health Agency - it is part of the Department of the Environment Food and Rural Affairs (DEFRA).

We can also sign some of these APHA health certificates but you must apply for them through the EHC Online system .

  • It is your responsibility to check if there is a relevant APHA form on  If there is, then you must apply online. 
  • Before you start you will need a Government Gateway account and a Defra account. If you do not have them, you'll be guided to set them up when you use the EHC Online service for the first time.
  • Read the notes on the application form.  
  • If your certificate can be signed by the local authority; we are pleased to be able to offer that service. Details can be found Applying for an APHA Export Health Certificate to be signed by the local authority.

If your certificate (or pre-application) needs to be completed by a vet/Official Veterinarian (OV) then you must find a suitably qualified vet or OV to sign your export health certificate.

Restrictions on exporting foods to some countries

There are special rules concerning exports to many countries. Some are prohibited, others are restricted and some countries have special requirements for foods being exported to that country.  One common issue is for exports to China (Peoples Republic of China).

There are specific requirements for importing foods to China including pre-approval of the manufacturers, exporters and pre-notified signatories for health certificates. This process can take some time and you need to contact APHA urgently if you wish to consider such exports. 

We strongly recommended that you do not enter into a contract to export to China (or any other country) unless you have made sure the procedures are in place to allow it.

Meeting other countries' and your customers' requirements

If you are planning or considering exporting it is essential that you obtain details of the import requirements for the country/countries you hope to export to as well as your customers' requirements and specifications. 

If your product is food or food related, or is a Product of Animal Origin (POAO); whether for human consumption or not, then you may need a health certificate as part of that export documentation.  

Special rules may apply:

  • if you are exporting to a non-EU Country 
  • and your consignment is going via an EU Country (known as Transshipment or Transit). 

Please check with your export agent in the UK or Import Agent in the destination country.

Other documents

You may need a Certificate of Free Sale or Certificate of Preferential Origin.