Significant changes are coming for imports from the EU to the UK, with new rules and risk categorisations for products of animal origin.

As part of the government’s Border Target Operating Model, set to be introduced this year and fully implemented by 2027, these goods will be placed under new ‘high’, ‘medium’ and ‘low’ risk categories based on the risks they pose to public and animal health.

The first stage comes into effect on 31st January 2024

Medium & High Risk categories

The introduction of health certification on imports of medium risk animal products, plants, plant products and high risk food and feed of non-animal origin from the EU. 

Low Risk categories

The removal of pre-notification requirements for low risk plant and plant products from the EU.

Patricia Gonzalez, Imports Technical Lead at E&J, explains:

“In principle, this is a good idea as it promotes targeting time and resources into controlling products that are either more likely to affect our sanitary status or to cause a serious incident.” 

“However, concerns may arise due to the categorisation of certain products as low risk, resulting in virtually no checks at Border Control Posts.”

E&J is stepping up its service offering for organisations and businesses affected by these changes, with our teams of Portal Official Veterinarians available to provide support every step of the way.

Under the 3-staged changes during 2024, high risk products will require pre-notification, health certification, documentary, ID and physical examination. Medium risk products will require the same measures, but ID and physical examinations will only apply to a percentage between 1% and 30%. Finally, low risk products will only be subject to minimal controls with no certification, but they will still need to pass through approved ports and airports.

Explaining the impacts of these changes and how we are making preparations, Patricia continues: 

“There was an agreed transitional period which came into force in January 2021 to impose controls for products travelling from GB into the EU. However, applying the controls on EU imports has proven to be more challenging.”

“We currently rely on the EU to guarantee 100% the safety of the products we import from member states. EU standards are very high, but with no checks, the door is open to future incidents.”

“There has been a lot of uncertainty about the quantity of checks necessary when the new import controls come into force. That is why E&J has been busy preparing enough Portal Official Veterinarians to accommodate any demand and tailoring to the needs of the different Border Control Posts.”

“We can only wait to see what 2024 brings and keep adapting to the changes.”

For more information on these services, go to the Portal Inspection page.

Or to speak with a member of our Portal team, contact 01132 840 400 or