Leaving the EU: Information for meat producers and exporters

To help meat producers manage the changes from January 2021, we’ve collated the latest information and advice on exports below. You’ll find a summary of the key changes for each topic and links to the most up-to-date online resources.

From 1 January 2021, the process for exporting live animals and products of animal origin (POAO) from Great Britain to the European Union is changing. Meat producers will need to:

Market access for products of animal origin from GB to the EU in January 2021

An EORI number is a unique ID code for businesses, issued by the HMRC. Any business wishing to move goods between the UK and EU after 1 January 2021 must use the EORI number as an identification number in all customs procedures.

It must start with ‘GB’ followed by a 12-digit number.  If you already have an EORI, make sure it starts with GB, otherwise you will need to apply for a new one.

The EORI number is required regardless of the way the goods are exported.  It can be applied for online and take up to a week to obtain.

For advice on moving goods between Great Britain and Northern Ireland, sign up for the Trader Support Service.

The UK has been granted 'national listed status', which allows the trade of products of animal origin such as meat and dairy to the EU to continue.

New health and identification mark requirements will apply to all POAO produced and placed on the market in Great Britain and Northern Ireland or exported outside of the UK.  The hygiene requirements under which health and identification marks are applied are unchanged.

The changes include new health and identification marks, depending on whether the food business is based in Northern Ireland or Great Britain.

POAO placed on the market before the end of the transition period will be allowed to reach its end-user, in the market it was placed, with the existing health and identification mark.

New EU labelling requirements will apply to POAO in the EU market from January 2021.

Some of the changes include:

  • having an EU or NI address of who is responsible for the product to be included on the packaging or food label 
  • nomination of the country of origin and the restriction on using the EU
  • new health and identification marks

Read more on the gov.uk website: Food and drink labelling changes from 1 January 2021

The UK is no longer a member of the EU and from 1 January 2021, will be classed as a third country. The UK has applied to the EU to be a listed third country to allow exports to the EU to continue from 1 January 2021.

If the EU lists the UK there will be no change to the process if you export beef and veal (from animals aged under 12 months at the time of slaughter).

POAO exported from GB to the EU must enter through a border control post that is designated for the types of goods exported. 

A border control post will carry out checks on animals, and animal products arriving from third countries. See the list of EU BCPs on the European Commission website.

All EU BCPs require pre-notification of goods arriving, which is done by the EU-based importer.

The Border Operating Model explains how the border with the European Union will work after the transition period.

Export Health Certificates are now required when exporting POAO from GB to the EU.

Export Health Certificates are official documents confirming that POAO consignments meet the health requirements of the EU. A hard copy of the fully certified EHC travels with the consignment where it will be checked when your goods arrive in the EU.

EHCs can be applied for via the online application service on GOV.UK (known as EHCO or EHC Online). 

Both the exporter and the certifying officer(s) need to be registered for EHC online before an EHC application can be progressed.

To find more about EU EHC and guidance notes before January go to EHC Form Finder on GOV.UK.

Transport documentation will be required to accompany POAO consignments moving across EU borders. Documents issued by the UK will only be valid in the UK and not in EU countries.

An arrived declaration will need to be submitted to customs before goods have left the trader’s premises.  The declarant will then receive ‘Permission to Progress’ (P2P).

The haulier must ensure the driver has all the necessary customs documentation and other paperwork and it must be carried in the vehicle for the duration of the journey.

Transporters will be required to have the correct operator licence. See, standard international operator license.

Find out more:


UK-based businesses sending goods from the UK will have to complete a UK customs export declaration after the end of the transition period.

Exporters will need to submit export customs declarations and Safety and Security (S&S) declarations from either a combined export declaration or a standalone Exit Summary Declaration.

Customs processes can be complicated, so most businesses use customs intermediaries to complete a customs declaration.

Find out more:

The EU-UK Agreement provides for zero tariffs and zero quotas on all goods where goods meet the relevant rules of origin (wholly obtained). This means the exports of certain meat or dairy products providing rule of origin are met will not face import tariff.

Rules of origin determine the nationality of a product and its eligibility for duty-free or reduced duties under the preference trade agreements.  So the origin is the economic nationality of goods being imported and exported.

Two criteria apply in the determination of rule of origin, wholly obtained (one country involved only) and 'sufficiently worked or processed’ (production involved inputs from countries outside the originating country or territory).

Find out more:

At the end of the transition period, the Northern Ireland Protocol (‘the Protocol’) will take effect.

The guidance (see link below) outlines that the UK Government will ensure that:

  • Moving goods from Northern Ireland to Great Britain should take place as it does now
  • Changes for goods moving from Great Britain to Northern Ireland will be kept to an absolute minimum
  • If you move goods between Great Britain and Northern Ireland, the Trader Support Service will guide you through any changes due to the implementation of the Northern Ireland Protocol

 Find out more:

From January 2021, EU trade agreements will not apply to the UK.

To ensure continuity of trade, the UK is working towards reproducing the benefits of existing EU agreements for when they no longer apply to the UK.

Where replacement trade agreements are not agreed, trade would take place on World Trade Organization (WTO) terms with that country.

Find out more: 

The EU has recognised the UK approved organic control bodies.  This allows export of organic food and feed to the EU until 31 December 2023.

All organic goods exported to the EU need to have a valid Certificate of Inspection for organic products (COI) using the EU’s Trade Control and Expert System New Technology (TRACES NT).

As an organic exporter you need to contact your control body to approve your business on TRACES NT for exports

Find our more:

Guidance -Importing and exporting organic food

Checklist: actions your business needs to consider

  • Get an EORI number starting with GB to be able to move goods between the UK and the EU
EU listings
  • The FSA is automatically putting forward approved meat establishments for EU listings
  • Ensure your business is on the published list of UK approved establishments
  • After 1 January 2021, business will need to apply to the EU to be listed via the Animal Plant Health Agency
Export Health Certificate
  • Register to the Export Health Certificate online service to make an EHC application
  • All EU EHC for POAO will be available online only
  • Responsibility for customs border formalities rests with traders
  • Goods will not be able to move across EU borders without the correct documentation
Custom declaration
  • Decide whether to use a customs intermediary to make customs declarations
  • UK-based businesses sending goods from the UK will have to complete a UK customs export declaration after the end of the transition period. The responsibility for customs border formalities rests with the traders