Brexit cause of backlog on veterinary border control

September 17/2021

Since the entry into force of Brexit, animals imported from Britain, as well as foodstuffs and other products derived from animals must be inspected at the border control post when they enter the EU. In Finland, the number of inspections has been large ever since the beginning of year. The change has caused a backlog in veterinary border inspections. Some required documents have been deficient, and the import consignments have had to wait for the documents to be completed.

During the first eight months of the year, more than 900 imported consignments were inspected at the border control post at the port of Vuosaari. Imports from Britain represented more than 30% of the total. At the same time, the number of consignments from elsewhere was at the same level as in normal years, except in 2020, due to COVID-19. By far the majority of products of animal origin imported from Britain to Finland consists of pet food and, to some extent, other types of feed. Animals are also imported.

In Finland, border control posts for products of animal origin from outside the EU are located in Vuosaari Port, Helsinki Airport and Vaalimaa. Products of animal origin from Britain can only be imported directly to Finland via Vuosaari Port or Helsinki Airport. Animals can only be imported to the airport.

The importer must confirm the import conditions

Since the entry into force of Brexit, there are still problems in Britain with correctly completing the necessary certificates. Import consignments have been stuck in EU ports early in the year due to incorrect certificates. If the import conditions are not met and there are deficiencies in the documentation, the consignment must be rejected and returned or destroyed at the expense of the importer.

'The importer is responsible for ensuring that the import conditions are met. The terms and conditions should be carefully checked in advance. However, the situation has improved since the beginning of the year, thanks to the importers. The Finnish Food Authority has also hired one more border veterinarian at the beginning of September to facilitate the workload caused by Brexit’, says Head of Section Kitty Schulman from the Finnish Food Authority.

Veterinary health certificates not required for exports until July 2022

Great Britain has changed the previously announced schedule regarding requirements when exporting agricultural products. When products of animal origin are exported to Britain, exporters must make the necessary veterinary health certificates in the TRACES system from 1 July 2022. Phytosanitary certificates are also required as of 1 July 2022. Export consignments must be pre-notified in Great Britain already as of 1 October 2021. In addition, the introduction of physical checks on agricultural products at border control posts in Great Britain has been moved from the change of the year to July.


For more information, contact the Finnish Food Authority:

Head of Section Kitty Schulman
tel. +358 40 163 2531

Senior Officer Ulla Ollila
tel. +358 50 563 4190

Finnish Food Authority's Brexit web pages