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HMRC internal manual

VAT Food

Items benefiting from the relief: what is food?: food ingredients and additives: oils and fats

Edible oils and fats, either used for cooking food or incorporated as an ingredient, are zero-rated. Examples are lard, margarine, suet, and the oils of corn, olive, sunflower, safflower, rape seed, grape seed, peanut and walnut.

Edible greasing agents used in bakeries to prevent products sticking while being cooked are not foods and are standard-rated. Oils and fats not used for human consumption are standard-rated, unless zero-rating as an animal feeding stuff applies under item 2 of Group 1.

Essential oils (intensely concentrated volatile oils obtained by pressure or steam distillation) are not foods and are standard-rated. Such oils are typically used for medicinal uses including aromatherapy.

The liability of waste cooking oil is described in VFOOD1420; and the liability of oils used as food supplements is in VFOOD2060.