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Northern Ireland import requirements for restricted food stuffs 

Northern Ireland specific

How to move restricted food stuffs from a non EU country into Northern Ireland.

Last updated: 18 December 2020

Importing produce from China 

Products of animal origin which are imported from China must comply with specific health conditions. 

The following products can enter Northern Ireland (NI) providing consignments adhere to the following rules: 

  • undergoes pre-shipment checks for the presence of the illegal veterinary medicines, chloramphenicol and nitrofurans and their metabolites 
  • is accompanied by a signed declaration from the Chinese competent authority with the analytical results 

Fishery products are all animal products derived from fish. Aquaculture is a type of fishery product that has been farmed. 

Consignments of aquaculture need to undergo pre-shipment checks for the presence of malachite green, crystal violet and their metabolites. Aquaculture must be accompanied by a signed declaration from the Chinese competent authority with the analytical results. 

For full controls and a complete list of controlled products see the Commission Decision 2002/994/EC

The import restrictions for some poultry products from China remain in place due to the outbreak of avian (bird) flu. 

Importing produce from Japan 

If you are importing food or feed from Japan you should follow Regulation 2021/1533 - imposing special conditions governing the import of feed and food originating in or consigned from Japan following the accident at the Fukushima nuclear power station. 

Food from certain countries post Chernobyl 

Food and feed originating in non EU countries following the accident at the Chernobyl nuclear power station  

This relates to certain mushrooms and fruit of the genus Vaccinium as outlined in Regulation (EU) 2020/1158.​ 

These products are treated like those in Regulation 2019/1793 Annex II HRFNAO. They will require official certification from Great Britain (GB) competent authority to accompany the movement of goods from GB to NI.​ 

Pre-notification will be required, using TRACES NT and a CHED-D.​ 

Sprouts and seeds for sprouting from non-EU countries and GB  

Sprouts and seeds have been linked to disease outbreaks including Escherichia coli and other pathogenic bacteria. It is the high humidity and favourable temperature during sprouting that allows bacterial pathogens to multiply, creating a public health risk. 

Regulation 2019/625 requires that an official certificate for sprouts and seeds intended for the production of sprouts should accompany a consignment until it reaches its destination as indicated in the official certificate. The model certificate can be found in Part XV of Annex II to Regulation (EU) 2019/628.  

There is no requirement in Regulation (EU) 2019/628 to carry out checks at the boundary, however Port Health Officers can carry out routine checks on consignments. If the documentary check is unsatisfactory, then the Port Health Officer should place the consignment under official detention and require the importer to provide the missing information. Should this information not be provided, the Port Health Officer may reject the consignment.  

Restricted food stuffs 

Soy sauce containing 3-MCPD 

Some soy sauce contains a dangerous chemical called 3-MCPD. There are limits on the levels of 3-MCPD that can be present in products imported into NI. These are: 

  • soy sauce can contain levels of 3-MCPD no higher than 0.02 mg/kg
  • this is for the liquid product containing 40% dry matter, which corresponds to a maximum level of 0.05 mg/kg in the dry matter 

Import ban on jelly sweets

There are restrictions within the EU on the additives permitted in certain jelly confectionery because there is a risk of choking: 

  • the use in jelly mini-cups of certain additives specified in Annex II of Regulation 1333/2008 and the sale of these jelly mini-cups, is prohibited
  • the use of E425 konjac in all jelly confectionery, including jelly mini-cups, and the sale of such confectionery, is not permitted under Regulation 1333/2008 

These provisions are enforced by way of The Food Additives, Flavourings, Enzymes and Extraction Solvents Regulations (Northern Ireland) 2013.

Kava kava import ban 

Kava Kava, a member of the pepper family, is as a traditional herbal remedy for the treatment of anxiety. The herb has been banned since 2003. This is because of concerns about its toxic effect on the liver. Kava kava supplements, or foods containing this herb cannot be imported into NI. 

Illegal dye in spices and palm oils 

Certain spices are at risk of contamination. District councils regulate high risk imports. If illegal dye levels are at or above 0.5 parts per million (0.5ppm) they are rejected. 

Spices at risk of contamination from illegal dye include: 

  • dried chilli 
  • chilli products 
  • curry powder 
  • palm oil