How to import or move food and drink from the EU and Northern Ireland to Great Britain.
Import controls on EU goods to Great Britain (England, Scotland and Wales) that have already been introduced remain in place. This page will be updated in autumn 2022 with new dates for import controls.
This guidance applies to businesses in Great Britain (England, Scotland and Wales) that import or move food and drink from the EU and Northern Ireland to Great Britain. This includes food and drink under safeguard measures.
Food and drink means products of animal origin (POAO) for human consumption. Examples include:
Food and drink under safeguard measures are POAO that are banned or have import restrictions because of a disease outbreak or public health issue.
You need to follow different guidance if you’re importing or moving:
- composite products from the EU and Northern Ireland to Great Britain – composite products contain processed POAO and plant products that are integral to the final product, such as lasagne
- POAO from non-EU countries
Find out more information about importing from the EU.
Phased import controls for POAO
Great Britain is phasing in controls on imports of POAO from the EU.
Import controls apply to:
- POAO under safeguard measures from 1 January 2021
- most other POAO from 1 January 2022
Movements from Northern Ireland to Great Britain
You can move POAO from Northern Ireland to Great Britain if they’re qualifying Northern Ireland goods.
Check what documents you need
You need a health certificate to import POAO under safeguard measures from the EU. The EU exporter must:
- apply for the health certificate in their own country – competent authorities should use model health certificates to create versions that exporters can apply for
- give you an electronic copy to upload to the import of products, animals, food and feed system (IPAFFS)
The original certificate (not a copy) must travel with the consignment.
You should contact the Department of Agriculture, Environment and Rural Affairs (DAERA) if you’re moving POAO under safeguard measures from Northern Ireland to Great Britain.
You may need an import licence or authorisation to import your food and drink product from the EU if there’s no health certificate for your product.
In some cases, you may need an import licence as well as a health certificate.
Check the list of general licences to see if the licence you need already exists, and what you should do if it’s not on the list.
You should check with the EU exporter if the product you’re importing needs a commercial document. If it does, they must complete it.
The commercial document must include:
- details of what’s in the consignment
- the name of the person who sent it
- the name of the person it’s being sent to
The document must travel with the consignment.
Notify authorities in Great Britain about your POAO import
You must submit an import notification on IPAFFS to notify authorities in Great Britain about your import of:
- POAO under safeguard measures from the EU from 1 January 2021 – you must submit the import notification 24 hours before your import arrives
- most other POAO from EU countries except the Republic of Ireland from 1 January 2022
Add information about the business you’re importing from
You need to add information to IPAFFS about the business you’re importing from, if it’s coming from:
- the EU
- Iceland, Norway, Switzerland, Lichtenstein, San Marino, Faroes or Greenland
Follow these steps to add the approved business:
- Sign in or register to use IPAFFS.
- On the ‘Traders addresses’ page, select ‘Add a place of origin’, then select ‘Create a new place of origin’.
- In the ‘Place of origin name’ field, enter the full name of the exporting business, then its authorisation number.
- In the ‘Place of origin’ fields, enter the full address, telephone number, country and email address for the business.
- Save these details – they will be saved to your address book so that you can use them again.
- Add the approved business to your import notification.
Submit an import notification for imports of POAO under safeguard measures
When you submit your import notification in IPAFFS, you’ll get a unique notification number (UNN) for the product. The format of this number will be IMP.GB.2021.1XXXXXX.
You must give the UNN to the EU exporter or official veterinarian (OV).
The exporter or OV must add the UNN to the health certificate and give you a copy.
You must then go back into IPAFFS and attach the health certificate copy to your import notification.
Import notifications if there’s a new or emerging disease outbreak
If safeguard measures are in place because of a new or emerging disease and there is no commodity code for your food or drink, you should:
- Download and fill in the import notification form for POAO under safeguard measures IV70. Send the IV70 form to the Centre for International Trade – Carlisle (APHA CIT) at APHAGBimports@apha.gov.uk. Use the email subject: ‘URGENT – POAO SAFEGUARDING UNN REQUIRED’.
- APHA CIT will give you a UNN. Give this to the EU exporter or OV to add to the health certificate.
- The EU exporter will give you an electronic copy of the health certificate.
- Email the completed IV70 and health certificate to APHA CIT at APHAGBimports@apha.gov.uk. Include the UNN in the email subject heading. For example: ‘IMPORT NOTIFICATION – POAO UNDER SAFEGUARD MEASURES IMP.GB.2021.2000001’.
- APHA CIT will email you with the updated form with the UNN and the health certificate.
If you need help with import notifications
You can call the Animal and Plant Health Agency (APHA) helpline on 03300 416 999, or email APHAServiceDesk@apha.gov.uk.
If you need help
Contact APHA’s Centre for International Trade, Carlisle if you’re not sure about anything.
If you need help with your customs declaration
You can call the HMRC helpline on 0300 322 9434, Monday to Friday 8am to 10pm, and Saturday to Sunday 8am to 4pm.