Imports of cooking oils from countries outside third countries must meet the same or equivalent food hygiene and compositional standards and procedures as food produced in GB. You do not normally need a health certificate to import cooking oils.
You may not need a health or hygiene licence to import food, but many foods from third countries require licences for trading purposes and may be subject to quotas.
For further information please contact the Rural Payments Agency by email at Trader@rpa.gsi.gov.uk.
Food colourings, flavourings and sweeteners
Some oils contain food colourings, flavourings or sweeteners. Although these may be approved by the food authority in the country of origin, some may not be approved in GB.
For information on food flavourings, sweeteners, colourings and preservatives, please contact our Food Additives team.
You will find general information about food labelling at GOV.UK.
For advice on the labelling of specific products, please contact your local authority’s Trading Standards Department or Environmental Health Department.
Department of Farming and Rural Affairs (DEFRA) provide information on marketing standards for olive oil.
If you are importing organic products (live or unprocessed agricultural products, processed agricultural for use as food or feed and vegetative propagating material and seeds for cultivation), from outside the EU, please contact the Organic Imports team at DEFRA.
Food contact materials and articles, including those used for food packaging, are controlled by retained UK legislation that has been fully implemented in GB. This legislation is particularly thorough in its control of plastic materials and articles intended for food use.
For information on the safety of packaging please contact the Food Contact Materials team.
For general enquiries on food hygiene please contact the Food Hygiene Policy team by email.
A guidance note on the Contaminants in Food (England) Regulations 2013, which make provision for enactment and enforcement of retained UK legislation setting regulatory limits for contaminants in food (nitrate, mycotoxins, metals, 3-MCPD, dioxins and PAHs).
See our business guidance on contaminants.
There are some import restrictions/requirements that can apply to cooking oils of which importers need to be aware.
Imports of certain feed and food of non-animal origin that are considered 'higher-risk' can only enter the UK through specific ports and airports which are authorised Border Control Posts (BCP) where official controls will be carried out. A 'higher-risk' product is feed or food that is either known to be, or is, an emerging risk to public health.
Products of animal origin
The rules for importing animal-based cooking oils are dealt with by the Animal and Plant Health Agency (APHA). APHA is an Executive Agency of the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (DEFRA).
Information on importing cooking oils that contain shellfish or fish, or their products, can be found online.
Imports of feed and food from Japan
Imports of all feed and food originating in or consigned from Japan to GB are subject to special conditions. This is following the accident at the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant in Japan in March 2011. This means that consignments of feed and food can only enter GB through specific ports and airports where official controls will be carried out.