Importing nuts

Guidance on labeling, contaminants and what to look out for when importing nuts.
Last updated

General information

Imports of nuts from countries outside the European Union (EU) must meet the same standards of food hygiene and go through the same procedures as food produced in the EU. You do not normally need a health certificate to import nuts, unless they are subject to Emergency Control Procedures – see Import restrictions below.

Labelling

You will find general information about food labelling in the GOV.UK website.

For advice on the labelling of specific products, please contact your local authority’s Trading Standards Department or Environmental Health Department.

You can find contact details for these online. 

Organics

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 through DEFRA’s website.

For information on organic regulation and standards, (including labelling) within the UK please contact the Organic Strategy team also through DEFRA’s website.

Packaging

Food contact materials and articles, including those used for food packaging, are controlled by all-encompassing EU legislation that has been fully implemented in the UK. 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 Material Team by email at foodcontactmaterial@food.gov.uk

Food hygiene

For general enquiries on food hygiene please contact the Food Hygiene Policy Team by email at foodhygiene.policy@food.gov.uk 

Contaminants

A guidance note on the Contaminants in Food (England) Regulations 2013, which make provision for enactment and enforcement of Commission Regulations setting regulatory limits for contaminants in food (nitrate, mycotoxins, metals, 3-MCPD, dioxins and PAHs), can be found at on our website.

Import restrictions

There are some other import restrictions/requirements that apply to nuts of which importers need to be aware and these are as follows:

Higher-risk products

Since 25 January 2010 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 designated points of entry (DPEs) 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.

Aflatoxins

Imports of certain foodstuffs from certain non-EU countries such as the import of peanuts from Brazil, China, Egypt, Ghana and India, hazelnuts and pistachios from Turkey, pistachios from Iran, and Brazil nuts from Brazil are subject to special conditions due to contamination risk by aflatoxins.

This means that consignments can only enter the EU through specific ports or airports which are designated points of import (DPIs).

Further information for business operators can be found at our webpage on Mycotoxins.

Importers should also be aware that the European Commission has granted approval under Commission Decision 2008/47/EC for the USA to carry out pre-export checks on their peanuts and derived products, immediately prior to export. Therefore consignments from the USA of peanuts, and products derived from peanuts, should be accompanied by a certificate signed by an official of the USA competent authority, the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA), stating that the consignment complies with maximum levels of aflatoxins and providing results of the sampling and analysis carried out.

For further advice on these Decisions and aflatoxin testing requirements please contact the Mycotoxins team by email at chemicalcontaminants@food.gov.uk

Imports of feed and food from Japan

Imports of all feed and food originating in or consigned from Japan to the EU are subject to special conditions. This is following the accident at the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant in Japan in 2011. This will mean that consignments of feed and food can only enter the UK through specific ports and airports where official controls will be carried out.

Contact the Imported Food Team, Food Standards Agency, via email at foodcontactmaterial@food.gov.uk