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Food Imports - Brexit

Steps to take  


Since 1 January 2021, food and food contact materials (anything that can be in contact with food) coming from Great Britain is an import from a third country (a non-EU country). To trade with Great Britain, you need to comply with import requirements. Knowing these requirements will help reduce the impact of Brexit on your food business.

Checks on imports

Checks (controls) are carried out on food and food contact materials entering the EU market to ensure they meet the requirements of EU food law. These controls include:

  • documentary checks
  • identity checks
  • physical checks

Higher risk imports

Some foods and food contact materials are considered to pose a higher risk to public health, animal health, or the environment in terms of diseases, pests, or contaminants. Additional requirements are in place to control such risks. These include:

  • additional documentation
  • prior notification before arrival of the food into Ireland

These products must enter Ireland through a specific entry point called a Border Control Post (BCP). 

Steps to take to import food from Great Britain

  1. Register for an EORI (Economic Operator Registration and Identification) number  
    • You cannot trade with Great Britain without this number
  2. Know the classification code (CN) of your product  
    • You will need this code when completing import documentation for your product
  3. Identify the type of product you will be importing because each food type has different requirements  
  4. Register with TRACES NT (the European Commission’s online platform for sanitary and phytosanitary certification) if you are importing:
    • food of animal origin
    • composite products that require veterinary checks
    • certain foods of non-animal origin
    • fruit and vegetables
    • organic food 
  5. Be familiar with the documentation and notification periods for food imports, and identify who is responsible for submitting the documents
  6. Consider how to simplify consignments so that products needing identity/physical checks are easily accessible to inspectors

Check out our resources page for further help and guidance on trading with the UK (excluding Northern Ireland).

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