Import or move food and drink from the EU and Northern Ireland to Great Britain


Last updated 5 July 2022

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:

  • meat
  • fish
  • eggs
  • dairy
  • honey
  • gelatine

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:

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

POAO you cannot import from 1 July 2022

You will not be able to import the following prohibited and restricted goods from the EU to Great Britain from 1 July 2022:

  • chilled minced meat (beef, pork, lamb, mutton and goat)
  • chilled or frozen minced meat (poultry)
  • mechanically separated meat from poultry and ratite or game birds
  • ungraded eggs
  • chilled meat preparations

Frozen meat preparations must be frozen to an internal temperature of not more than -18°C.

A meat preparation is fresh meat of any amount, which has either:

  • added foodstuffs, seasonings or additives
  • undergone a process that does not change it, so it still has the characteristics of fresh meat

Examples of meat preparations are:

  • raw sausages, hamburgers or meatballs, seasoned steak or chicken
  • raw or partially cooked seasoned chicken strips and chicken nuggets

Movements from Northern Ireland to Great Britain

You can move POAO from Northern Ireland to Great Britain if they are qualifying Northern Ireland goods.

These are goods:

  • in free circulation in Northern Ireland - which means they are not under customs supervision (except when that supervision arises from the goods being taken out of Northern Ireland or the EU)
  • which have undergone processing operations in Northern Ireland under the inward processing procedure, and only incorporate inputs which were in free circulation in the UK

These arrangements will not apply to goods covered by specific rules such as the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES).

Check what documents you need

Your POAO import must come with one or all of the following documents:

  • a health certificate
  • an import licence
  • a commercial document

POAO under safeguard measures

To import POAO under safeguard measures from the EU, the EU exporter must:

The original certificate (not a copy) must travel with the consignment.

If there’s no health certificate for your product you may need an import licence or commercial document.

POAO imports from 1 July 2022

Most POAO imports from the EU to Great Britain must have a health certificate from 1 July 2022.

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 IPAFFS

The original certificate (not a copy) must travel with the consignment.

Moving POAO from Northern Ireland to Great Britain

You do not need a health certificate to move POAO from Northern Ireland to Great Britain.

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.

Import licence

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

Commercial document

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:

  1. Sign in or register to use IPAFFS
  2. On the ‘Traders addresses’ page, select ‘Add a place of origin’, then select ‘Create a new place of origin’.
  3. In the ‘Place of origin name’ field, enter the full name of the exporting business, then its authorisation number.
  4. In the ‘Place of origin’ fields, enter the full address, telephone number, country and email address for the business.
  5. Save these details - they will be saved to your address book so that you can use them again.
  6. 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

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:

  1. 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 Use the email subject: ‘URGENT – POAO SAFEGUARDING UNN REQUIRED’.
  2. APHA CIT will give you a UNN. Give this to the EU exporter or OV to add to the health certificate.
  3. The EU exporter will give you an electronic copy of the health certificate.
  4. Email the completed IV70 and health certificate to APHA CIT at Include the UNN in the email subject heading. For example: ‘IMPORT NOTIFICATION - POAO UNDER SAFEGUARD MEASURES IMP.GB.2021.2000001’.
  5. APHA CIT will email you with the updated form with the UNN and the health certificate.

Import POAO from the EU through a border control post in Great Britain from 1 July 2022

POAO imports listed in the regulations must enter Great Britain from the EU through a border control post (BCP) from 1 July 2022.

If you need help

Contact APHA’s Centre for International Trade Carlisle if you’re not sure about anything.

Defra is hosting a series of free webinars to explain what you need to do to import POAO from the EU to Great Britain from 1 October 2021.

If you need help with your customs declaration

You can call the HMRC helpline 0300 322 9434. Monday to Friday 8:00 to 22:00, and Saturday to Sunday 8:00 to 16:00.

First published 16 June 2021