Last updated on 3 April 2008
Guidance and Regulatory Advice on Import Legislation (GRAIL) database
GRAIL is a searchable database of up-to-date imported food legislation and guidance on those products which the Food Standards Agency has lead responsibility. These are the import of products of non-animal origin and fish and fishery products from non-European Union (EU) countries.
The database can also be used to search for current import conditions for a specified combination of product, country of origin and contaminant. In the search results summary guidance is displayed, with links to legislation and full guidance.
The system includes a comprehensive 'A-Z' list food law enforcement contacts, details of new content, a news section and links to useful websites.
Who can use GRAIL?
Use of the database is open to all, however, it is expected that it will be mainly used by local authority enforcement officers to support the effective enforcement of controls on imported food products that enter the UK from non-EU countries. Please note that advice on personal imports is not included and can be found at the link below.
How can GRAIL be accessed?
The GRAIL database can be accessed via the link on the right hand side of this page.
Why did the Agency develop GRAIL?
In 2003, the Step Change project aimed to improve the co-ordination and delivery of local authority inspection of food at ports whilst benefiting legitimate trade.
An exercise reviewing the existing IT systems and associated documentation identified the need for an efficient means of searching for legislation and guidance about food import controls. This would speed-up procedures on checking imported food for compliance as many ports still maintained paper-based records.
In 2004, the Agency piloted GRAIL with 30 authorities responsible for the major ports in the UK. The comments received during the pilot exercise have led to the new version being Internet-based.