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Council clarifies concerns surrounding Export Health Certificates

8th February 2019

The Highland Council's Environmental Health team currently allocates significant resource to facilitate Highland based food manufacturer's trade with EU and non-EU countries. This work can be split into two categories; statutory and non-statutory. The statutory work is to undertake ‘official controls’ (audits, inspections, spot checks, sampling, investigation of complaints, etc.) and the focus of the non-statutory work is to facilitate the export of food into non-EU countries by issuing Export Health Certificates.

Being non-statutory there is no legal obligation to issue Export Health Certificates, however the Council do so to fulfill Council priorities linked with the broader agenda of promoting economic growth and assisting businesses to bring products to market.

A charge is made for this non-statutory service which has been benchmarked with other Councils. The Environmental Health team are working with national groups on possible changes. This includes considering a sliding scale of charges linked to tonnage and possible introduction of an electronic system of certification to improve the process.

Councillor Allan Henderson, Chair of the Council’s Environment, Development and Infrastructure Committee said: "The Environmental Health team work extremely hard to meet the demands of local businesses for Export Health Certificates to facilitate international trade on top of their challenging statutory workload. The current charges were approved on 15/2/18 by Council, but we do recognise some industry concerns around this and are considering other charging models for possible introduction later in the year. We also recognise the considerable uncertainties around such implications of a Brexit no-deal scenario and are discussing this particular issue with the Scottish Government."

Food businesses exporting products of animal origin (e.g. fish, shellfish, meat products and dairy products) to Europe are encouraged to contact their local environmental health office if they wish to discuss concerns on Export Health Certificates and Brexit.

 

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