Export Health Certificate | How can one apply for it

Export Health Certificate (EHC) for exports of Food Products

What is an Export Health Certificate?

The Ministry of Commerce and Industry gives the Export Council of India (EIC) the authority to provide the export health certificate. An Export Health Certificate signifies that the food products exported outside India meet the safety requirements and comply with international standards.

An Export Health Certificate facilitates the export of perishable goods to the international market. The health certificate is considered to act as evidence to maintain food quality standards. In terms of health certificates, the EIC provides services including consignment-by-consignment inspection, establishment of a food safety management system in food processing facilities, and quality assurance system installation in export units. An Export Health Certificate plays an important role, mainly in the field of marine exports.

What is the importance of an export health certificate?

The Government of India's Export and Import Policy states that every export consignment must be accompanied by a health certificate and undergo mandatory microbiological and other testing conducted by the government laboratory. A detailed explanation of the significance of a health certificate in export/import transactions is provided below:

  • An Export Health Certificate states that the specific perishable cargo has been inspected by the exporter’s government organization. 
  • The health certificate guarantees that food exported is fit for human consumption, regardless of whether it comes from animals or other sources. 
  • The health certificate serves as proof that the food shipment was prepared in compliance with all applicable food laws.
  • The export certificate also specifies that the goods have been produced by one of the authorized manufacturing industries.

To accomplish the previously mentioned goals, the Food and Safety Authority of India (FSSAI) issued an order on August 3, 2022, F.No. 1829/Health Certificate/FSSAI/Imports/2021, requiring a health certificate for imported food consignments. This type of certification will guarantee that food is safe to eat and does not contain any harmful substances.

The list of perishable goods is as follows:

Basis for issuing a health certificate: Consignments that meet the following requirements will be granted a health certificate:

  • Importing nation specifications
  • Relevant national guidelines
  • The needs of the buyer

The Export Health Certificate is required in the following categories

  • Organizations that prepare seafood that have been approved by the European Union are responsible for processing fish and collagen for consignments that are only intended for export to the EU.
  • EU-licensed and non-EU-permitted seafood processing companies for shipments of marine products intended for export to Iran, the Russian Federation, and the People's Republic of China.
  • Companies that prepare animal casings for export to the European Union have been certified by the EU.
  • Producers of peanut goods that are exported to Malaysia and the EU.
  • Certification for Exporters of Non-Genetically Modified Organisms (GMOs).
  • Verified manufacturers and exporters under the voluntary food certification program.

Documents required to obtain the Export Health Certificate (EHC)

  • Application for Health Certificate Insurance
  • Invoice Copy
  • Purchase Order Copy
  • Import Export Code (IEC)
  • Letter of Credit
  • HS Code/HSN Code
  • Copy of FSSAI
  • Test Report for the Food Products
  • Test report from the EIA-approved facility, in accordance with importing country standards or national standards
  • A copy of the importer and exporter's agreement or contract

The following information is included in the EHC application

  • Reference number for the certificate
  • The competent body providing the certification
  • Name and mailing address of the recipient
  • Consignor's name and address on file
  • Nation of origin
  • Destination nation
  • Location and birthplace
  • Location of the loading
  • The departure date
  • Modes of transportation
  • An explanation of the exported item
  • The item's HS code
  • Quantity of packets
  • Net weighing
  • A statement regarding the item's health and fitness

Validity of the Export Health Certificate

After the date of issuance, the health certificate will be valid for ninety days.

What are the steps involved in applying for an Export Health Certificate?

Generally, an Export Health Certificate (EHC) granted by the EIC will include all pertinent data that the exporter submitted on the application form. Merchant exporters must use the EIC website to complete their one-time registration.

The steps involved in obtaining the original health certificate needed for food product exports are listed below:

  • An exporter should fill out an application using their username and password through the EIC, which will be sent to their respective email addresses. 
  • Using their login information, they can also access the e-health certification system and view the status of their application.
  • After submitting the application form, the system will generate an application reference number that the exporter can use for further reference.
  • The exporter should contact the designated EIA office and submit the essential documents, including the invoice , packing list , and test reports, along with the fees. 
  • Until the approval's validity, certified establishments are eligible to use health certification facilities. The password and username will be automatically disabled and reactivated following the license renewal.

To obtain a duplicate Health Certificate for the Export of Food Products, the applicant must submit an application in the prescribed format to the closest Export Inspection Agency Head Office or Sub-office, which oversees the exporting unit, along with the necessary documentation and fees.

Who signs the Export Health Certificate?

If an approved institution wants to obtain a health certificate, one should approach the nearest EIC to get a username and password. The head of the establishment must submit a formal request on official letterhead. After receiving the written request, the EIA will contact the EIC to assign a login and password. This will be forwarded by email to the establishment.

Export Inspection Agencies (EIAs) and the Export Inspection Council (EIC) are in charge of export quality control and inspection in India. They also assist exporters in meeting the necessary international quality standards. Exports from India, especially food goods, must obtain health certification from these organizations in order to be accepted internationally and comply with international norms.

Conclusion

The Export Health Certificate is mandatory when exporting perishable goods to ensure that the foods meet international quality standards and safety. The certificates vary from country to country and by product, but the exporter should keep in mind to fulfill the standard criteria regarding the identification of the exporter and importer.