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What is an export health certificate and how can exporters obtain it?

An export health certificate is an important document required to verify the quality of food products. Learn more about its meaning and the process of obtaining it in this blog.
Export health certificate
An export health certificate is a crucial document that is used to verify the quality of food products. It confirms that the food product is suitable for human consumption, complies with safety regulations, and meets necessary laws for export. In this blog post, we will take a detailed look at the export health certificate and its role in international trade.

What is an export health certificate?

According to the Export and Import Policy of the Government of India, each export shipment needs to undergo obligatory microbiological and other tests at a government laboratory.1 It also needs to be accompanied by an export health certificate which verifies that the food item complies with international safety standards and meets specific quality criteria. The certificate also confirms that the exported goods of plant and animal origin adhere to all relevant regulations in the food industry.

Many countries in North America, Europe, and Asia mandate this certificate for exported goods. When goods cross state borders, customs officials inspect batches to ensure the information on the certificates is accurate.2

Who needs an export health certificate?

An export health certificate is mandatory for the following types of trade businesses:
• Seafood processing organizations approved by the European Union (EU) for exporting marine products (fish and collagen) to the EU.
• Seafood processing firms approved by the EU and other non-EU nations for exporting marine products to Russia, China, Iran, and other non-EU countries.
• EU-approved processing firms for exporting animal casings to the European Union.
• Exporters of peanut products to the EU and Malaysia.
• Exporters seeking non-genetically modified organisms (non-GMO) certification.
• Processors and exporters approved under the voluntary food certification scheme.3

Who issues an export health certificate?

In India, the Export Inspection Council (EIC) is responsible for issuing export health certificates for food products. Established by the Indian government, EIC serves as a regulatory organization overseeing the safety and standards of export goods consignments.4

To obtain an export health certificate, exporters must follow the application procedure outlined by the EIC. The assessment takes into consideration various factors, such as the nature of the food product, its intended use, and applicable health and safety standards. Following a satisfactory evaluation, the EIC issues the export health certificate, confirming that the food product complies with standard regulations and is safe for consumption.

This certification is significant in international trade as it assures importing nations that the exported food products meet the necessary health and safety requirements. The EIC’s active involvement in this process underscores the crucial role that national regulatory agencies play in international trade by providing support to the exporter and assuring the consumer of the quality and safety of the imported product.5

How to obtain an export health certificate?

Exporters can obtain an export health certificate from the Export Inspection Council (EIC) and its network organizations. The process for obtaining the certificate is as follows:
1. The exporter fills an application on the relevant EIC portal, along with all necessary details and documentation.
2. The exporter pays the application fee to submit the application.
3. The application is sent to the relevant Export Inspection Council (EIC) or Export Inspection Agency (EIA) office.
4. The assigned EIA/EIC officer reviews the application and issues the health certificate for export of food products.
5. The exporter can collect the export health certification, which is available is 25 global languages to enable exporters to sell in non-English-speaking markets successfully.6

Documents required to obtain an export health certificate

Some of the documents that need to be submited to obtain an export health certificate are:
• Export health certificate application, duly filled by the applicant
• Copy of the invoice
• Copy of the Purchase Order
Letter of Credit
• Bank draft covering the necessary fee
• Test report of the food products, issued by EIA-approved laboratories, in accordance with the standards of the importing countries or national standards
• Contractual agreement between the exporter and importer including agreed-upon product specifications7

Export health certificates verify the quality and safety of a food product, and ensures that the product aligns with the specific requirements of the importing country. By upholding these standards, export health certificates help safeguard public health and foster smooth international trade, promoting trust and reliability in the global marketplace. E-commerce exporters selling food products on global marketplaces also need to obtain export health certificates to export certain food commodities.

Amazon Global Selling: Your passport to easy e-commerce exports

If you are a business owner and you want to sell your products to the world, Amazon Global Selling enables you to list and sell ‘Made in India’ products on 18 Amazon global marketplaces. As an e-commerce exports program, Amazon Global Selling provides support and guidance at every step of your export journey, connecting you to Amazon’s Service Provider Network for tailored compliance, payments, and logistics support.

Registered sellers can choose to ship their products by themselves through Merchant Fulfilled Network (MFN) or they can opt for Fulfillment by Amazon (FBA) and outsource order fulfillment to Amazon including packing, storage, delivery, and returns. Amazon Global Selling simplifies the process of international shipping to the world, helping businesses navigate customs and reach a vast audience.

Frequently Asked Questions

What is the purpose of an export health certificate?
An export health certificate verifies that the exporting country's government has checked the specific shipment of products. It confirms that food is safe for human consumption and meets the importing country’s requirements and standards. The certificate also confirms that the food consignment complies with all relevant food regulations and was produced by a reputable facility.
Is an export health certificate required for all types of exports?
An export health certificate is mandatory for the following types of trade businesses:
• Seafood processing organizations approved by the European Union (EU) for exporting marine products (fish and collagen) to the EU.
• Seafood processing firms approved by the EU and other non-EU nations for exporting marine products to Russia, China, Iran, and other non-EU countries.
• EU-approved processing firms for exporting animal casings to the European Union.
• Exporters of peanut products to the EU and Malaysia.
• Exporters seeking non-genetically modified organisms (non-GMO) certification.
• Processors and exporters approved under the voluntary food certification scheme.8
Published on February 28, 2024.

Sources:
1. https://www.indiafilings.com/learn/health-certificate-for-export-of-food-products/
2. https://ciss-group.com/service/survey/survey-by-industry/agri-commodities/other-services-and-inspections-of-agricultural-products/874-health-certificate.html
3. https://www.indiafilings.com/learn/health-certificate-for-export-of-food-products/
4. https://www.indiafilings.com/learn/health-certificate-for-export-of-food-products/
5. https://www.fao.org/3/W9474T/w9474t02.htm
6. https://www.kireeticonsultants.com/export-health-certificate
7. https://www.indiafilings.com/learn/health-certificate-for-export-of-food-products/
8. https://www.indiafilings.com/learn/health-certificate-for-export-of-food-products/

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