Skip to main content
English Cymraeg

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.

If you are moving goods under the NI Retail Movement Scheme please see Northern Ireland Retail Movement Scheme: how to register and seal consignments - GOV.UK. The following guidance relates only to movements to NI that fall outside of the NI Retail Movement Scheme.

Importing produce from China 

If you import products of animal origin from China, you must comply with specific health conditions. 

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

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

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

If you import aquaculture, consignments 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 with the analytical results from the Chinese competent authority.

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

There are import restrictions for some poultry products from China due to the outbreak of avian (bird) flu. 

Importing aquaculture from India

Emergency measures are in place for the import of Aquaculture products originating in India, which may be at risk of contamination from veterinary medicines (chloramphenicol, tetracycline, oxytetracycline and chlortetracycline and of metabolites of nitrofurans). 

If you import aquaculture products from India, you must comply with specific conditions. Consignments must undergo analytical testing carried out on an official sample prior to departure and be accompanied by the results of this analysis. By way of derogation, such products may be imported without sample analysis prior to departure, however they will be subject to sampling at the border control post of entry. Official samples must be taken from at least 50% of all consignments presented at Border Control Posts. 

Emergency measures are enacted by Commission Decision 2010/381/EU.

Importing bivalve molluscs from Turkey

There are restrictions in place on the import of bivalve molluscs originating in or dispatched from Turkey by EU 2022/478.

Consignments of frozen or processed bivalve molluscs will be subject to sampling for marine biotoxins and Esherichia coli at Border Control Posts.

Consignments of live and chilled bivalve molluscs originating in or dispatched from Turkey are prohibited and therefore cannot be imported to NI/EU.

Importing certain fishery products from the United States

Imports of live, frozen or processed bivalve molluscs, echinoderms, tunicates and marine gastropods for human consumption from the United States are only permitted from the states of Washington and Massachusetts.

However, food business operators may import the adductor muscle from pectinidae (scallops) of non-aquaculture origin, when completely separated from the viscera and gonads.

Importing fishery products from Albania

If you import fishery products of fish belonging to the families Scombridae, Clupeidae, Coryfenidae, Pomatomidae and Scombresosidae from Albania that are intended for human consumption, these must be accompanied by results of sample analysis for histamine.

By way of derogation such products may be imported without sample analysis prior to departure, however they will be subject to sampling at the Border Control Post of entry.

Food from certain countries post Chernobyl 

Import restrictions apply to a number of food and feed products originating in non EU countries following the accident at the Chernobyl nuclear power station.

These restrictions are listed in Regulation 2020/1158, and include certain mushrooms and fruit of the genus Vaccinium.

These products require official certification from the Great Britain (GB) competent authority to accompany the movement of goods from GB to NI.

Pre-notification is required, using TRACES NT and a CHED-D.

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

If you are importing sprouts and seeds intended for the production of sprouts, Regulation 2020/2235 requires that an official certificate should accompany a consignment until it reaches its destination as indicated in the official certificate. The model certificate can be found in Chapter 51 of Annex III to Regulation 2020/2235 . Goods must be dispatched from, obtained or prepared in approved listed establishments.

There is no requirement in Regulation 2020/2235 to carry out checks at the border, however Port Health Officers can carry out routine checks on consignments. If the documentary check is unsatisfactory, 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: 

Some soy sauce contains a dangerous chemical called 3-MCPD. Regulation 661/2014 specifies 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 50 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 a traditional herbal remedy for the treatment of anxiety. The herb has been banned in the UK and EU since 2003. This is because of concerns about its toxic effect on the liver. Kava kava supplements, or foods consisting of or 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 mg/kg they are rejected. 

Foodstuffs at risk of contamination from illegal dye include: 

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