Import and export food and drink products

Export regulations for tobacco, alcohol, fruit and vegetables


If you export tobacco, alcohol, fruit, vegetables, animals or animal-based produce, you need to be aware of specific export related regulations.

If you export any kind of live animal or animal-based product, special rules apply. For animals and animal-based produce, and for products covered by the Common Agricultural Policy (CAP), see exporting CAP goods.

Exporting fruit and vegetables

When exporting fruit and vegetables, you may have to comply with local regulations within the destination country you are exporting to - for example, on:

  • labelling - labels may have to be in the country's own language, for instance
  • ingredients
  • packaging
  • phytosanitary certificates

See trading in fruit, vegetables and plant products. Find out about the support available from Invest Northern Ireland for the food and drink sector and support for exporting to find out if you need to comply with any local regulations of the countries to which you're exporting.

Contact the Department of Agriculture, Environment and Rural Affairs (DAERA) for details of goods requiring phytosanitary certificates.


You must comply with specific duties and procedures if you trade in tobacco products. Browse guides on Tobacco Products Duty.

Many countries importing tobacco from the UK require a phytosanitary certificate. Exporters should contact DAERA to check on specific third-country (non-European Union) requirements.

Exporting alcohol

If you produce spirits for exporting, duty is usually liable once the spirits have left your warehouse. If you export whisky, be aware of the whisky export refund scheme that can give refunds on European Community (EC) cereals used in whisky manufacture for export outside the EC. Check whether refunds are currently available.

The levy-free import scheme has also been set up for the Scotch whisky industry. You'll also need to comply with any alcohol duties. In particular, if you sell alcohol to UK retailers, all bottles of 35 centilitres or more containing spirits of 30 per cent abv (alcohol by volume) must bear a duty stamp.