Import composite products from the EU and Northern Ireland to Great Britain
Last updated 21 December 2021
This guidance applies to businesses in Great Britain (England, Scotland and Wales) importing or moving composite products from the EU and Northern Ireland to Great Britain from 1 January 2022.
Composite products contain both of the following:
- processed products of animal origin (POAO) for human consumption
- plant products as a main ingredient - not just added for flavouring or processing
Examples of composite products include:
- pork pies
- pepperoni pizza
- cream liqueurs
- chicken burritos
Plant-based products with no POAO content are not composite products
You need to follow guidance on importing or moving food and drink from the EU and Northern Ireland to Great Britain if your product:
- is unprocessed POAO - for example, fresh chicken
- contains small amounts of plant-based products added for processing or to give extra flavour - examples include yoghurts with added fruit, or cheese with herbs
- contains several types of POAO but does not meet the composite product definition
You need to follow different rules if you’re importing animal products not for human consumption, such as pet food.
Product standards for composite products imported from the EU to Great Britain
Your composite product must meet certain standards to be imported from the EU to Great Britain.
Products that contain processed meat or a minimum of 50% milk, dairy, egg or fishery products
The meat, milk, dairy, egg or fish component that makes up 50% or more of your product must come from either of the following that are approved to export to Great Britain:
- EU country
- business in that country (this does not apply to wild-caught fish)
You may need a catch certificate and processing statement or storage document if your product:
- contains 20% or more marine-caught fish or fishery products
- will be imported using tariff codes 1604 or 1605
Products made with honey, gelatine or snails
Imports of products made with honey, gelatine or snails must come from an approved country.
They do not need to be:
- processed at a business approved by Great Britain
- heat-treated in line with Great Britain rules
If 50% or more of the content of the product you import is made with honey, gelatine or snails, the EU exporter may need to give you a:
- health certificate for the individual product - the honey, gelatine or snails
- composite health certificate if the product also contains meat, fish, dairy or eggs
If the product contains less than 50% of honey, gelatine or snails the product may be exempt. See below on composite products exempt from controls.
Some countries must have residue plans for certain products they export (for example, meat, dairy, eggs, fish and honey). You should check with your EU exporter if there’s a residue plan for the components in the product you’re importing.
You will not be able to import if the country you’re importing from does not have a residue plan.
Notify authorities in Great Britain about your composite product import from 1 January 2022
From 1 January 2022, you must submit an import notification in IPAFFS to pre-notify the enforcement authority in Great Britain about your composite product import from EU countries except the Republic of Ireland, unless it’s exempt.
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
To add the approved business:
- 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 approved business.
- Save these details. Details will be saved to your address book so that you can use them again.
- Add the approved business to your import notification.
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.
Check what documents you need from 1 November 2022
You’ll need one or all of the following documents to import composite products from the EU from 1 November 2022:
Composite products do not need to go through any plant health controls and so do not need a phytosanitary certificate.
Most composite products will need a health certificate from 1 November 2022 if they’re:
- being imported from the EU to Great Britain
- transiting through Great Britain to the EU or non-EU countries
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.
Some composite products are exempt and do not need a health certificate. See below on composite products exempt from controls. If your product is exempt you’ll need a commercial document - see below.
Composite products that contain dairy products made from unpasteurised milk (for example, a cooked ready meal topped with unpasteurised cheese) cannot be imported using a composite health certificate.
The EU exporter should check with the certifying officer which health certificates they need to apply for.
A list of composite products subject to controls is in Annex 1 of import information note CP/1
You need a commercial document to import your composite product if:
- it’s an exempt product (see below on composite products exempt from controls)
- the EU exporter says you need one
The EU exporter must complete the document.
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 commercial document or product labelling must also state:
- the nature, quantity and number of packages of the composite products
- the country of origin
- manufacturer details
- list of ingredients
The commercial document must travel with the consignment.
Import your composite product through a Great Britain BCP from 1 July 2022
These checks are made to protect:
- animal health and welfare
- public health
Composite products exempt from controls
Some composite products are exempt from import controls. Exempt products do not need:
- a health certificate - they need a commercial document instead (see above on commercial document)
- to be pre-notified
- to enter Great Britain through a BCP - they can enter through any point of entry
Products are exempt if all of the following apply, and they’re:
- heat-treated - this means the product is shelf-stable at ambient temperature or has undergone complete cooking or heat treatment during manufacture so that any raw product is denatured
- made without processed meat, meat extracts or powders
- made with less than 50% of any other processed POAO (any dairy must come from an approved country and have undergone the correct heat treatment for that country)
- labelled for human consumption
- securely packaged or sealed in clean containers
Other exempt products are:
- confectionery (including sweets) and chocolate that is heat-treated and contains less than 50% of processed dairy and egg products
- pasta and noodles not mixed or filled with processed meat product, that have been heat-treated and contain less than 50% of processed dairy and egg products
- bread, cakes, biscuits, waffles and wafers, rusks, toasted bread and similar toasted products that are heat-treated and contain less than 20% of processed dairy and egg products
- olives stuffed with fish
- soup stocks and flavourings packaged for the final consumer that are heat-treated and contain less than 50% of fish oils, fish powders or fish extracts
- food supplements packaged for the final consumer that contains less than 20% in total of processed animal products (including glucosamine, chondroitin or chitosan) other than meat products
A list of exempt composite products is in Annex 2 of the import information note CP/1.
Moving composite products from Northern Ireland to Great Britain
You can move composite products from Northern Ireland to Great Britain if they’re qualifying Northern Ireland goods.
The following regulations give more information about composite products, including definitions:
If you need help with your customs declaration
You can call the HMRC helpline 0300 322 9434. Monday to Friday 08:00 to 22:00, and Saturday to Sunday 08:00 to 16:00.
First published 26 May 2021