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Food Competent Certifying Officers

Working on behalf of APHA as an FCCO and the requirements

Food Competent Certifying Officer (FCCO) is a Certifying Officer that has competencies to operate official controls under the Food Act and means a person deployed by a competent authority, either as staff or otherwise, and who is appropriately qualified to perform official controls and other official activities in accordance with the Official Controls Regulation (2017/625), and any other relevant rules.

The Policy for Authorisation of FCCO by the Animal and Plant Health Agency in Great Britain (ET209) sets out the relationship between FCCOs and APHA as the competent authority responsible for their authorisation. All FCCOs must be familiar with the content of this document and should take time to read it.

Working as an FCCO

FCCO's are authorised by and act on behalf of APHA and must be employed by a Local Authority (LA) or Food Standards Scotland (FSS).

FCCOs act on behalf of APHA to certify certain Export Health Certificates (EHCs) to other countries. Each importing country specifies what kind of Certifying Officer can sign an EHC for a particular product or range of products. This requirement will be specified on the certificate and in the accompanying instructions, which are known as the 'Notes for Guidance'.

For instance, for exports to the EU an FCCO can sign EHC’s for:

  • fishery products
  • live bivalve molluscs and
  • composite products which contain processed egg or fish products, but do not contain meat or dairy.

How do I become an FCCO?

To become an FCCO you must work for a LA or FSS and meet the eligibility criteria for the role as stated in the Policy of Authorisation for FCCOs.   

Administration of FCCO authorisations and approvals is managed centrally by APHA’s OV Team. Applications for authorisation as an FCCO must be made to the OV Team using either the:

  • Application for Authorisation of Local Authority Officers to Certify Exports to the EU form (ET180/ET180(Welsh)) or   

  • Application for Authorisation of FSS’s FCCO to Certify Exports of Products of Animal Origin (POAO) to the EU and third other countries (ET208 

The form must be signed and submitted by an LA Lead Food Officer (ET180/ET180(Welsh)) or a Senior Manager in FSS (ET208) confirming that you meet the requirements according to the Policy for Authorisation of FCCOs (ET209).  

In exceptional circumstances, where the eligibility criteria are not fully met, LAs or FSS may apply to APHA to see if an individual is eligible for authorisation. Further guidance can be found on the FCCO Request for Authorisation Eligibility Check (ET210) form. Where applicable this form must be submitted with the Application for Authorisation of Local Authority Officers to Certify Exports to the EU form (ET180/ET180(Welsh)) or Application for Authorisation of FSS’s FCCO to Certify Exports of Products of Animal Origin (POAO) to the EU and third other countries (ET208).

On receipt of the correctly completed application form, the OV Team will review your application and where eligible grant your authorisation and allocate you a unique FCCO number and stamp.

The OV Team will send confirmation of your authorisation and the stamp to the LA/FSS address provided on the application form. You can only start to work as an FCCO once you have received these. If you change employment e.g. from one LA to another, you must notify the OV Team by email. The new employer must also confirm your new appointment by email.  

To discuss your authorisation and approval as an FCCO contact APHA’s OV team:

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For queries about using Sam or the initial registration process please contact the Sam support desk on:

03300 416999
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