Export certification a major challenge for meat and livestock warn vets

The Veterinary Public Health Association (VPHA) and British Veterinary Association (BVA) have warned that major challenges face the meat and livestock sectors after the end of the withdrawal period, due to issues relating to export certification.

In a recent report entitled Export Certification and the challenges facing the meat and livestock sector post-transition, the two veterinary bodies conclude that if the EU discontinues recognition of the UK’s health status, sub clauses may apply for meat exports requiring a 40 day standstill on the last holding before slaughter, a negative TB test within 3 months of slaughter, systematic trichinella testing of pigs and the segregation of EU and non-EU destined products.

They also warn that the existing Harmonised European Health Certificate (EHC) conditions will impose a severe limitation on and in some cases prohibit the export of certain categories of products such as fresh mince and meat preparations, 5th quarter products and certain categories of offal and by-products.

Veterinary resources are also highlighted as a major problem, with the two organisations pointing out that problems with meeting export requirements are not only related to having vets available to sign EHCs at the point of departure - vets are also needed to verify and certify information and processes throughout the supply chain, including on farm, in slaughterhouses, co-located and standalone cutting plants and retail packing sites, cold stores and at borders. The UK’s Animal and Plant Health Agency (APHA) has estimated the number of additional vets needed for EHC certification work to be around 200, but businesses involved in export certification work have put the number at at least 350.