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Food Exports

Food Exports

Information about exporting food to the UK

  • Exporting to the UK

    Since 1 January 2021, the UK has been outside the EU Single Market and Customs Union. This means procedures apply for businesses moving goods to, from or through the UK, excluding Northern Ireland. The Protocol on Ireland / Northern Ireland, which forms part of the Withdrawal Agreement between the EU and the UK, means that no new procedures will apply to goods moving between Ireland and Northern Ireland.

    For foods exported to the UK (excluding Northern Ireland) from the EU, the UK is introducing food import requirements on a phased basis. This approach is set out in detail in the UK Border Operating Model which was updated in December 2021.

  • Controls in place for exporting food to UK

    Currently, certain limited categories of plant and animal products, which the UK considers to be high risk (i.e. live animals, germinal products, products of animal origin under safeguard measures, high risk animal by-products (ABP)), require:

    • pre-notification by the UK importer to the UK authorities, using its Imports of Products, Animal, Food and Feed System (IPAFFS);
    • an Export Certificate which must accompany the consignment being exported to the UK.

    Further information is available on

  • Changes to UK Import Requirements from 1 January 2022

    On 15 December 2021, the UK Government announced that the new UK customs and Sanitary and Phytosanitary (SPS) import requirements which were due to apply to imports to Great Britain from 1 January 2022 have been postponed in respect of the import of goods from Ireland.

    This announcement means that the current arrangements for importing goods to Great Britain (GB) from Ireland continue to apply after 1 January 2022 and until the UK government provides further information. Based on the information provided by the UK government, the following will apply in respect of agri-food goods:

    For animal product controls:

    The new pre-notification requirements being introduced on EU imports from 1 January 2022 for Products of Animal Origin and Animal By-Products (ABP) will not apply to goods imported from the Republic of Ireland to Great Britain.

    Existing requirements (introduced in January 2021) for Live Animals, Products of Animal Origin (POAO) under safeguard measures, germinal products and high risk Animal By-Products remain unchanged, i.e. imports of these goods from the Republic of Ireland (ROI) to GB and indirect movements from Northern Ireland (NI) moved via the ROI to GB, will continue to require pre-notification, to be accompanied by appropriate documentation and certification, and will continue be subject to risk-based import checks.

    Direct movements from NI to GB of NI-qualifying animal products, will continue to have unfettered access to Great Britain.

  • High Risk Food not of Animal Origin

    Businesses moving high risk foods not of animal origin (HRFNAO) directly from Ireland (Republic of Ireland and Northern Ireland) into Great Britain, will also be exempt from the requirement to pre notify. This is a temporary arrangement and will be reviewed in the beginning of 2023.

    Transits – Island of Ireland to European Continent via Great Britain

    Since 1 January 2022, all other POAO and low risk ABP moving from Ireland to continental EU countries via Great Britain are exempt from the new UK import control requirements until further notice.

    • Pre-notification is not required for these consignments.

    • These goods can enter and exit Great Britain through any point of entry until 30 June 2022.

    Transits – European Continent to the Island of Ireland via Great Britain

    Since 1 January 2022, all other POAO and ABP from continental EU countries to the island of Ireland via Great Britain will need to be pre-notified on IPAFFS at least four hours before they arrive into Great Britain.

    GB authorities will need to be informed once the consignment has left GB by emailing with the subject line ‘confirmation that a consignment has left Great Britain territory’.

    The email will need to include the following information:

    - IPAFFS notification reference number

    - details of means of transport

    - date consignment has left GB territory

    - copy of commercial documents (bill of lading or airway bill)

    These goods were able to enter and exit Great Britain through any point of entry until 30 June 2022.

    It should be noted that these changes have been postponed and not cancelled. These arrangements are temporary, and the UK government has indicated that this arrangement will continue to be kept under review.

    It is therefore important for Irish exporters to maximise the use of the additional time provided by this announcement to further prepare their supply chains for these Brexit-related changes. Exporters must ensure that everyone in the supply chain, including the UK importer, is clear on their roles and responsibilities.

  • UK Import Requirements from 1 July 2022

    From 1 July 2022, in addition to the pre-notification requirement, Irish exporters will need to apply for and be issued with the appropriate Export Health Certificate(s) for their agri-food products, issued by the relevant Irish competent authorities. These new import controls were introduced in three phases between 1 July and 1 November 2022 as follows: 

    From 1 July 2022, certification and physical and identity checks were introduced for:  

    • All remaining regulated animal by-products
    • All regulated plants and plant products
    • All meat and meat products
    • All remaining high-risk food not of animal origin.

    From 1 September 2022, certification and physical checks were introduced for all dairy products.

    From 1 November 2022certification and physical checks were introduced for all remaining regulated products of animal origin, including composite and fish products.

    This phased approach does not replace any existing import controls already in place.

    As the type of health certificate required for individual categories of products may differ and consignments with different products may require a number of health certificates, Irish exporters should maximise the use of the time provided by the phased approach for the introduction of UK import controls, to further prepare for these significant Brexit-related changes. Exporters must ensure that everyone in the supply chain, including the UK importer, is clear on their roles and responsibilities and can meet them.

    See here for more information on exporting agri-food products to the UK from Ireland.

  • Tips for preparing to export to GB

    1. Familiarise yourself with Irish and UK Customs and Sanitary and Phytosanitary (SPS) requirements for exporting goods to Great Britain 

    2. Identify the correct health certificate(s) for your product(s)

    3. Interact now with your inspector who will be certifying your products

    4. Ensure you have full traceability information and all the supporting documentation available and have systems in place to organise these documents to align with your certifying officers’ needs

    5. Identify the right, experienced staff to interact with the IT systems, such as TRACES, the EU online platform for sanitary and phytosanitary certification, the Dairy Certification System (DCPS).

    6. Access the information material and guidance on the UK government website and the Irish Government website,

    7. Consider if there are issues to address in relation to logistics arrangements, for example, in relation to couriers 

    Information on the new UK Import Controls is available on and includes:

       1. Summary 
       2. EU Import/Export Controls 
       3. UK Import Controls 
       4. Additional UK Government Import Requirements   
       5. UK Government Resources 
       6. Irish Government Supports and Training

  • Contact your Competent Authority

    For further information on how to apply for an Export Health Certificate, please contact your Competent Authority.

    The FSAI issue Export Certificates for food contact materials. Download the certificate application form and checklist