Importing and exporting food

Advice and guidance for businesses about importing and exporting food into Great Britain.

There are many issues to take into consideration when importing foodstuff into Great Britain. Certain foods are subject to increased controls and emergency measures which are reviewed and updated regularly.

Products of animal origin (POAO) can only be bought into the UK if imported through a designated Border Inspection Post This must be accompanied by specific documentation to provide evidence that it has come from an approved establishment in an approved country and marked with a traceable approval number.

Some foods of non-animal origin (FNAO) are classed as high risk and require health checks when being imported into Great Britain. It is important to have the right documentation.

As a food business you must: 

  • know where your food comes from: during any inspection you must be able to identify the name and address of the supplier of any item
  • keep contact names and addresses for all your suppliers
  • ensure food traceability documents, such as invoices and receipts, are available
  • always use reputable suppliers and do not use suppliers who are unable to provide their contact details, invoice or receipt
  • always have the legally required information in English (this can be in addition to other languages)
  • check the business name and address on the label is based in the UK/EU (from the 1 January 2024 it must be a UK address only)

If you are considering importing food please visit the below resources for more information.

More information