Importers bringing products of animal origin (POAO) and animal by-products (ABP) originating from the EU will need to ensure they comply with the new Border Target Operating Model (BTOM).


From 31st January 2024, POAOs and ABPs must be pre-notified via a CHED submitted on IPAFFS to the Port Health Authorities at the point of entry. Although, the requirement to introduce these products via Border Control Posts takes effect on 30th April 2024, appropriate documentation must accompany these consignments from Wednesday, including health certification when required.


Previously, POAO, such as meat, dairy and fish originating in the EU, did not face restrictions when imported to Great Britain. Introducing new controls will inevitably have an impact. During the first stage, between 31st January and 30th April, importers will have time to become familiarised with the new system and legal requirements, with an unlikely outcome of refused entry.


Patricia Gonzalez, Imports Technical Lead

The new arrangements and border checks directly impact the work of Official Veterinarians. Patricia Gonzalez, Imports Technical Lead at E&J, explains what this means for POAO imports and gives her thoughts and opinions on BTOM:


“Although this is a logical way to handle the changes, we must be ready to implement more robust controls as soon as possible. More delays would only prolong our public and animal health vulnerability.”


“We cannot just assume that products are safe because they originate from reliable countries. There are many examples of outbreaks worldwide, including nations we consider safer, that emphasise the importance of protecting our borders. From Foot and mouth disease in 2001, which severely impacted the economy, to the recent cases of Avian influenza or African swine fever in Europe.”


“Our borders are mainly delimited by water, but we still need to be pragmatic and apply risk assessment to impose appropriate control measures. I fear there are too many holes in the system to exploit. Groupages and transits leave an open window for hazards and only when BTOM is fully implemented, we will be able to address those risks and hopefully mitigate them.”


“It is crucial the next phase is implemented without further delays, including the first checks of medium risk goods at BCPs from the 30th of April.”


You can read the full plans for a new approach to importing goods into Great Britain at the GOV.UK website: The Border Target Operating Model


About Patricia Gonzalez

Patricia is the Imports Technical Lead at E&J, supporting a team of Technical Managers to deliver the highest technical standards of service delivery. Graduating in Veterinary Medicine at the University de Las Palmas, Gran Canaria, Patricia has worked as a Portal OV for over 20 years.