Live animals, foodstuffs and animal derived goods

Before shipping any goods, it is important to check if they require specialist handling during transit and whether they are subject to particular environmental, health and safety or customs control procedures.

Why not let Unsworth Global Logistics take the hassle out of imports and exports? Our dedicated team are happy to assist customers with any procedures, legislation and licensing required in the movement of your goods.

Be sure to check your home countries export regulations as well as the overseas countries import regulations. The first thing to do is to establish which commodity code your goods fall under. HMRC’s classification helpline on 01702 366 077 will be of help. Once you know the classification code for your product you must check if it requires an export licence to leave the UK.

Food and agricultural goods 

Food and agricultural goods are one of the most heavily regulated sectors in the UK and overseas. This is because many countries around the world protect their domestic producers by imposing trade restrictions, and food and hygiene standards to ensure food safety. In the UK, the Department for Environment Food & Rural Affairs (Defra) are the main body in charge of these types of regulations.Live animale, foodstuffs and animal derived goods

A range of chargeable services are available to help in the exporting to countries outside the EU of:

  • plants
  • plant products (including grain and bulbs)
  • fruit and vegetables
  • potatoes (including seed potatoes)
  • seeds
  • soil
  • Agricultural machinery.

Further information is available from the Food Environment and Research Agency (Fera).

Live Animals and Animal-based Produce

There are a number of restrictions in place regarding the transportation of any live animal or animal-based product. The exporter must have the correct health certificates in order to progress through customs.

There are currently two electronic systems used to obtain health certificates.

Export Online System (EOL)

This is an online system, using on-screen application forms, for those intending to export to countries outside of the EU. Regular exporters have the option to set up a company template for future applications to avoid having to input the same data over and over again.

You will be required to fill out an EOL registration agreement to use the service. Once registered, you will be able to access EOL on their website to complete Export Health Certificate applications.

Trade Control and Expert System (TRACES) 

TRACES is a web-based system run by the European Commission’s Directorate-General for Health and Consumer Protection to control the movement of live animals and animal products within the EU. They help make the paperwork needed for trading in animals and animal products easier by generating necessary documentation and sending copies out to the relevant authorities.

You will be required to register, free of charge, to use the service. Instructions can be found on the Defra website. Once registration has been completed, exporters can then apply for an Intra-Trade Animal Health Certificate (ITAHC) using the TRACES website.

Plants, Fruit and Vegetables

Within the EU, there are currently no licenses required to ship plants, fresh fruit and vegetables. However, plants that are highly susceptible to pests or diseases may require a plant passport.

If you intent to export any of these items to a third world country, a phytosanitary certificate or license may be needed.  More information on controlled exports can be found on the Food Environment and Research Agency (Fera) website.

When exporting fruit and vegetables, traders may have to comply with local regulations on:

  • labelling: labels might have to be in the country’s own language, for instance
  • ingredients
  • packaging
  • Phytosanitary health.

Fruit and vegetables as a foodstuff are also subject to health and consumer protection regulations.

Products Covered by CITES

CITES stands for Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (1975). There are currently over 2500 animal and 25,000 plant species that fall under this international agreement between governments, for which a CITES permit is required.

Here is a list of animals protected by CITES:

  • all of the big cats
  • all primates
  • parrots
  • alligators
  • crocodiles
  • birds of prey
  • elephants
  • rhinoceros
  • tortoises
  • sea turtles
  • many exotic reptiles
  • corals
  • Sea horses.

Many plants and trees are also protected, for example:

  • orchids
  • cacti
  • succulents
  • Tropical timbers.

There are also certificates and permits required for animal parts and derivatives such as eggs, feathers, tusks, teeth, etc.

Unsworth Global logistics have had many years of experience shipping these types of goods, so please do not hesitate to get in contact on +44 (0) 20 8539 8899 or email if you need any assistance.