To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what assessment he has made of the potential effect on levels of safety of certifying non-qualified personnel to sign-off health certificates for animal exports which are currently drafted by veterinary surgeons.
There are no plans to certify non-qualified personnel to sign-off export health certificates.
The quality of assurance of our exports is a high priority for the government and important for our trading partners. The use of Certification Support Officers will have no impact on this. As now Export Health Certificates will continue to be signed by an Official Veterinarian (OV) when that is required by the importing country. Certification Support Officers (CSOs) will be trained and authorised by the Animal and Plant Health Agency so they will have a suitable qualification. They must work under the direction of an OV and may carry out preparatory and administrative tasks, such as checking documents, identifying products or sealing containers. Ultimately, the official vet must be satisfied that the required conditions have been met before signing the certificate. CSOs are not authorised to assist with the certification of live animals.