Export Health Certificates for pork

From 1 January 2021, every consignment of pork leaving a UK abattoir bound for the EU needs to be signed off by an Official Vet (OV) as meeting all of the conditions laid out in the Export Health Certificate (EHC). 
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Included in the EHC is a clause stating that pigs have, from birth, been kept separate from wild cloven-hoofed animals and there are good management and biosecurity practices.

What do you need to do to comply with the EHC?

We have worked with Defra, the National Pig Association (NPA), the British Pig Association (BPA), the Food Standards Agency (FSA) and processors to agree a solution for how you can ensure you are compliant.

To enable the OV to sign such a statement, the following steps need to be taken:

Your own private vet will now be asked to issue you with a statement (where appropriate) that your pigs have been farmed separately from wild cloven hoofed animals with appropriate housing/fencing. You, as a producer, will need to do two things:

  • Update your production information held in Pig Hub by indicating you have a quarterly vet statement which confirms the above (this information will feed into eAML2 and your licence)
  • Confirm on the eAML2 online form that the pigs you are shipping have also been farmed separately from wild cloven hoofed animals from birth – by doing this you are also confirming that the pigs have been farmed separately on suppliers farms if they weren’t born on your unit. However, if your entire supply chain is Red Tractor assured, you will be able to automatically answer ‘yes’ to this question
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If you submit your movements on a CSV file via the eAML gateway (sent to movements@eaml2.org.uk), you will need to ensure:

  • All your holdings are updated with the confirmation that you have the new Quarterly Veterinarian Certification on Pig Hub
  • You use the new CSV template which can be down loaded from eAML system

The record for your pigs will be passed through the eAML2 system as part of the Food Chain Information (FCI) to attest that pigs have been kept separate from wild ungulates throughout their life. This is needed so that the OV at the abattoir can sign the EHC and so the pork can be exported.  

The EHC will be re-issued approximately every three months, but will remain with you. You will need to keep this in case the processor is audited at some point by the EU.

Changes to movement licence paperwork

We have updated the layout of movement licences (haulier summaries) to make it easier to comply with the new regulations and to enable us to add the extra questions needed to provide documentation to supply the official veterinarians (OVs) with the evidence required to sign off the Export Health Certificates (EHC) for pork meat and animal by-products bound for the EU.

These are not legal requirements and not required by domestic markets, however, there are certain meats and by-products that pork processors export e.g. head meat.

The new questions apply to farm-to-slaughter, farm-to-farm and farm-to-market movements.

The new questions on the farm-to-slaughter licences relate to pigs being resident on the last farm for a minimum of 40 days before slaughter. The change to the farm-to-farm and farm-to-market movements asks you to confirm in 'industry approved wording' that pigs have been kept, since birth, separate from wild ungulates.

Read our quick guide to the document changes (March 2021) Download an example farm-to-slaughter licence Download an example farm-to-farm licence Download an example market-to-slaughter licence Download an example farm-to-market licence

The eAML2 user guides have been updated to include the new clause and examples of the new movement licenses.

Do exports from Great Britain (GB) require trichinella testing?

This information is an update to Defra’s previous guidance (21 January 2021) and reflects the latest position regarding trichinella controls for the export of live pigs and pig meat to EU Member States. 

In December 2020, Defra applied to the EU Commission to list GB as a third country to allow us to certify live pigs or pig meat for export as coming from controlled housing without the need for trichinella testing.

In January 2021, GB was granted use of a derogation from testing un-weaned piglets under the age of five weeks. 

In February 2021, Member States voted in favour of our application to certify other pigs or fresh meat as coming from controlled housing without the need for trichinella testing.

The relevant EU legislation was published on 25 March 2021 and came into effect on 21 April 2021. This means that pigs from controlled housing conditions do not need mandatory trichinella testing for export to the EU.

In all cases, we advise that you contact the importer before preparing the consignment to confirm that they will accept it.

This latest guidance reflects that Member States voted in favour of GB’s application for listing in respect of our use of controlled housing in the management of trichinella in February 2021 and that the enabling legislation has now been published.

The Regulation was published on 25 March 2021 – the trichinella elements came into force on 21 April 2021.

The situation for export for live pigs exported to the EU is:

  • For slaughter: can be tested for trichinella at the abattoir of destination in the EU
  • For breeding/production: can be introduced into EU controlled housing or non-controlled housing holdings if from GB controlled housing

In all cases, we advise that you contact the importer before preparing the consignment to confirm that they will accept it.

The position for Northern Ireland (NI) is unchanged from previous guidance.

NI does not need to be listed as a third country for the purposes of exporting to the EU and is identified alongside Member States as a country using controlled housing.

Consignments of live pigs and pig meat can therefore be certified as coming from controlled housing for export to all Member States.

NI is also able to apply the derogation from testing un-weaned piglets under five weeks old.

Any GB exporter experiencing problems on entry to a Member State should contact Defra at SM-Defra-traders (Defra) via: traders@defra.gov.uk

The EU rules for the import of Composite Products changed on 21 April 2021. 

We would like to draw the attention of exporters to points 4.11 and 4.15 of the updated EU FAQs. These address the upload of scanned copies of the private attestation for shelf-stable composite products and the ingredient breakdown given in the private attestation document respectively.

Completing and submitting the private attestation is the responsibility of the EU importer, but this additional information may be useful when providing the detail to your importer to allow them to complete the document. 

Frequently asked questions

The new clause states that every pig has, from birth, been kept separate from wild cloven-hoofed animals. This will need to be evidenced and then signed by the duty Official Veterinarian (OV) at the abattoir before pork products are sent for export.

Following the end of the transition period on 1 January 2021.

A grace period will be granted for movements booked prior to 1 January 2021, on the basis that a new quarterly veterinary statement confirms the pigs on your unit adhere to the housing and biosecurity criteria. Your vet will be able to supply you with a copy of this statement, which must be kept on farm in case the EU audits the abattoir.

If you knowingly export pork products to the EU, you will need to comply with the new EHC conditions. We are aware that, in a small number of cases, some pork products such as offal may be exported without the producer knowing. If the additional clause is not met, the pork products will not be used for EU export.  

We have worked with the NPA, Defra, British Pig Association (BPA), Pig Veterinary Society (PVS) and the Food Standards Agency (FSA) to agree a simple way of complying with the new clause using eAML2. From 1 January 2021, you will need to do the following when registering a movement:

  1. Obtain a quarterly vet certificate (separate from your farm assurance quarterly vet report) signed to confirm that your pigs have been kept separate from wild ungulates (cloven-hoofed animals) with appropriate housing, fencing or hedging. You should liaise with your vet if you are unsure if your housing, fencing or biosecurity requirements are compliant. This certificate will be re-issued every quarter, but will stay with you. You must keep this document in case the processor is audited by the EU.
  2. Update your information on Pig Hub to confirm that you have a quarterly vet certificate. This is done through an additional 'yes/no' question on Pig Hub. This information will transfer into eAML2 and your movement license (see the updated PigHub user guide for instructions on how to do this).
  3. Confirm the position on your movement license. On each eAML2 online form, you should confirm that the consignment(s) of pigs you are moving have been kept separate, from birth, from wild cloven-hoofed animals. Defra recognise that there will be a catch–up period for pigs born before 1 January 2021 where the quarterly veterinary certificate will be sufficient.

We have updated the user guides to highlight the new questions on eAML2 and Pig Hub.

Click here for the eAML2 farm to slaughter user guide

Click here for the Pig Hub user guide

Email Pig.Hub@ahdb.org.uk or call the eAML2 Helpline on 0844 335 8400. The Helpline is open Monday to Friday 9am – 5pm.

Download a copy of the export health certificate (EHC) FAQs

Meetings with the UK Chief Veterinary Officer and her EU counterparts are ongoing, and the need for such a requirement may, in time, be removed.

Listen to our podcast

In this episode, we discuss export health certificates – what’s changed, what you need to do to comply, and the latest position with Trichinella testing. We also discuss what does and doesn’t contribute to the standard pig price (SPP).

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