Legislation for importing food

Last updated:
21 June 2016
Food which is intended for human consumption must meet the general food safety requirements of European Union (EU) law.

Under EC Regulation 178/2002 these requirements are that food must not be unsafe, i.e.:

  • injurious to health
  • unfit for human consumption

Apart from the general provisions of EC Regulation 178/2002, the specific legislation applying to imported food will depend on whether the food is of animal origin or not:

  • food containing animal products includes meat, meat pies, salami, poultry, fish, eggs, milk, dairy products, honey.
  • food that has no animal content includes fruit, vegetables, cereals, certain bakery products, herbs, spices, mineral water, fruit juices.

Food containing animal products

The main legislation in England covering the import of food containing animal products is the Trade in Animals and Related Products (TARP) Regulations 2011. Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland have their own but very similar regulations. The regulations establish controls on food imported from countries outside the EU. England legislation and Declarations

Reference Subject With effect from EU legislation
POAO REG 59/013 Equidae from Mexico 26/01/06 Commission Decision 2006/27/EC
POAO REG 61/017 Fishery products from Guinea 07/02/07 Commission Decision 2007/82/EC
POAO REG 61/018 Fishery products from Albania 06/10/07 Commission Decision 2007/642/EC
POAO REG 61/033 Melamine in products from China 15/12/09 Commission Decision 2009/921/EC
POAO REG 61/034 Bivalve molluscs from Peru 11/12/09 Commission Decision 2009/862/EC
POAO REG 61/035 Guar Gum from India 09/04/10 Commission Regulation (EU) 258/2010
POAO REG 61/038 Imports of aquaculture products from India for human consumption 09/07/10 Commission Decision 2010/381 EU
The Trade in Animals and Related Products (TARP) regulations now apply. Declarations will now be made under these regulations
TARP REG 29/046 Heavy metals and Sulphites in fishery products from Gabon 08/11/11 Commission Regulation (EU) No 1114/2011
TARP REG 29/047 Vet meds products in crustaceans from Bangladesh 17/11/11 Commission Implementing Decision (EU) No 742/2011
TARP REG 29/054 Vet meds regulations and residue control system in live animals and animal products in China 23/08/12 Commission Implementing Decision (EU) No 482/2012 (amending 2002/994/EC)
TARP REG 29/057 Import of feed and food originating in or consigned from Japan 31/05/13 Commission Implementing Regulation (EU) 495/2013
TARP REG 29/058 Bivalve molluscs from Turkey 02/08/13 Commission Implementing Regulation (EU) 743/2013
TARP REG 29/059 Bivalve molluscs from Peru 06/11/13 Commission Implementing Decision 2013/636/EU

Wales legislation

Reference Subject With effect from EU legislation
POAO 2008/W/004 Import of live animals and animal products from China for human consumption and animal feed use 01/07/08 Commission Decision 2008/463/EC
POAO/W/2008/007 Milk and milk products from China 26/09/08 Commission Decision 2008/757/EC
POAO/W/2008/008 Milk and milk products from China 17/10/08 Commission Decision 2008/798/EC
POAO 2008/W/010 Soya and soya products from China 11/12/08 Commission Decision 2008/921/EC
POAO 2008/W/011 Milk and milk products and soya and soya products from China 22/12/08 Commission Decision 2008/798/EC
Commission Decision 2008/921/EC
POAO/2010/W/035 Pentachlorophenol and dioxins in guar gum from India 15/04/10 Commission Decision 2010/258/EC
POAO/2010/W/007 Imports of bivalve molluscs from Peru 22/10/10 Commission Decision 2010/641/EU
POAO 2011/W/005 Food and Feed from Japan 25/05/2011 Commission Decision 506/2011
POAO 2011/W/008 Food and Feed from Japan 11/07/2011 Commission Decision 657/2011
POAO 2011/W/010 Food and Feed from Japan 29/09/2011 Commission Decision 961/2011
The Trade in Animals and Related Products (TARP) regulations now apply. Declarations will now be made under these regulations
TARP 2011/W/014 Fishery Products from Gabon 09/11/2011 Commission Decision 1114/2011
TARP 2011/W/015 Crustaceans from Bangladesh 15/11/2011 Commission Implementing Regulation (EU) No 1114/2011
TARP 2011/W/016 Bivalve molluscs from Peru 30/11/2011 Commission Implementing Decision 2011/723/EU
TARP 2011/W/017 Food and Feed from Japan 25/12/2011 Commission Implementing Regulation (EU) No 1371/2011
TARP 2012/W/002 Food and Feed from Japan 23/03/2012 Commission Regulation 250/2012
TARP 2012/W/005 Food and Feed from Japan 30/03/2012 Commission Regulation 284/2012
TARP 2012/W/007 Food and Feed from Japan 29/06/2012 Commission Regulation 561/2012
TARP 2012/W/009 Products of animal origin from China 23/08/2012 Commission Regulation 482/2012
TARP 2012/W/011 Food and Feed from Japan 30/10/2012 Commission Regulation 996/2012
TARP 2012/W/012 Bivalves from Peru 30/10/2012 Commission Decision 729/2012
TARP 2013/W/004 Bivalves from Turkey 02/08/2013 Commission Regulation 743/2013
TARP 2013/W/005 Bivalves from Turkey 02/08/2013 Commission Regulation 743/2013
TARP 2013/W/006 Bivalves from Peru 13/11/2013 Commission Decision 636/2013

Northern Ireland legislation and Declarations

Reference Subject With effect from EU legislation
None Nitrofurans in poultrymeat and shrimps from Thailand 01/08/03 Commission Decision 2002/251/EC as amended
None Prohibition on live bivalve molluscs, echinoderms, tunicates, marine gastropods as well as live fish and shellfish carried in water from Albania 24/03/04 Commission Decision 2004/225/EC
None Chloramphenicol and products of animal origin from China 01/09/04 Commission Decision 2002/994/EC as amended
None Meat and meat products of equidae from Mexico 26/01/06 Commission Decision 2006/27/EC
None Heavy metal and histamine in fishery products from Indonesia 06/04/06 Commission Decision 2006/236/EC
POAO/2007/001 Histamine in certain fishery products species from Brazil 06/01/07 Commission Decision 2006/698/EC as amended
POAO 2007/002 Fishery products from the Republic of Guinea 07/02/07 Commission Decision 2007/82/EC
POAO/NI/2007/002 Histamine in certain fishery products species from Albania 08/10/07 Commission Decision 2007/642/EC
POAO/NI/2008/001 Pentachlorophenol and dioxins in guar gum from India 05/05/08 Commission Decision 2008/352/EC
POAO/NI/2008/002 Harmful residues in animal products from China 01/07/08 Commission Decision 2008/463/EC
POAO/NI/2008/003 Special conditions imposed on fishery products imported from Gabon and intended for human consumption 03/07/08 Commission Regulation (EC) No 601/2008
POAO/NI/2008/004 Emergency measures applicable to crustaceans imported from Bangladesh for human consumption 02/07/08 Commission Decision 2008/630/EC
POAO/NI/2008/005 Import of live animal and animal products from China for human consumption and animal feed use 09/08/08 Commission Decision 2008/639/EC
POAO/NI/2008/006 Special conditions imposed on fishery products imported from Indonesia for human consumption 16/08/08 Commission Decision 2008/660/EC
POAO/NI/2008/007 Milk and milk products from China 26/09/08 Commission Decision 2008/757/EC
POAO/NI/2008/008 Milk and milk products from China 16/10/08 Commission Decision 2008/798/EC
POAO/NI/2008/009 Bivalve molluscs from Peru 19/11/08 Commission Decision 2008/866/EC
POAO/NI/2008/010 Soya and soya products from China 11/12/08 Commission Decision 2008/921/EC
POAO/NI/2008/011 Milk and milk products and soya and soya products from China 22/12/08 Commission Decision 2008/798/EC
Commission Decision 2008/921/EC
POAO/NI/2009/003 Import of Eggs and Egg Products from China intended for Human Consumption or Animal Feed 03/11/09 Commission Decision 2009/799/EC
POAO/NI/2009/004 Imports from Peru of certain bivalve molluscs intended for human consumption 12/12/09 Commission Decision 2009/862/EC
POAO/NI/2009/005 Imposing special conditions governing the import of certain products originating in or consigned from China 16/12/09 Commission Regulation (EC) No. 1135/2009
POAO/NI/2009/001 Bivalve molluscs from Peru 30/03/09 Commission Decision 2009/297/EC
POAO/NI/2010/002 Revocation of POAO/NI/2008/006 on fishery products from Indonesia 21/04/10 Commission Decision 2010/219 EU
POAO/NI/2010/003 Aquaculture and farmed fishery products from Indonesia 21/04/10 Commission Decision 2010/220 EU
POAO/NI/2010/001 Special conditions on the import of guar gum originating in or consigned from India due to contamination risks by pentachlorophenol and dioxins 15/04/10 Regulation (EU) No. 258/2010
POAO/NI/2010/004 Emergency measures applicable to consignments of aquaculture products imported from India and intended for human consumption 10/07/10 Decision 2010/381/EC
POAO/NI/2010/005 Emergency measures applicable to crustaceans imported from Bangladesh and intended for human consumption. 15/07/10 Decision 2010/387/EC
POAO/NI/2010/006 Bivalve molluscs from Peru 23/11/10 Commission Decision 2010/641 EU
POAO/NI/2011/001 Food and feed from Japan 26/03/11 Commission Regulation (EU) No 297/2011
POAO/NI/2011/002 Feed and food originating in or consigned from Japan 13/04/11 Commission Implementing Regulation (EU) No. 351/2011
POAO/NI/2011/003 Feed and food originating in or consigned from Japan 25/05/11 Commission Implementing Regulation (EU) No. 506/2011
POAO/NI/2011/005 Feed and food originating in or consigned from Japan 01/10/11 Commission Implementing Regulation (EU) No. 961/2011
POAO/NI/2011/006 Fishery products from Gabon 08/11/11 Regulation (EU) No. 1114/2011
POAO/NI/2011/007 Crustaceans imported from Bangladesh and intended for human consumption 16/111/11 Decision 2011/742/EU
POAO/NI/2011/008 Import of certain bivalve molluscs from Peru 05/11/11 Decision 2011/723/EU
POAO/NI/2011/009 Feed and food originating in or consigned from Japan 25/12/11 Commission Implementing Regulation (EU) No. 1371/2011
The Trade in Animals and Related Products (TARP) regulations now apply. Declarations will now be made under these regulations
TARP REG 29/045 Import of feed and food originating in or consigned from Japan 29/09/11 Commission Regulation 961/2011
TARP REG 29/050 Import of feed and food originating in or consigned from Japan 23/03/12 Commission Regulation (EU) No 1371/2011
TARP REG 29/051 Import of feed and food originating in or consigned from Japan 30/03/12 Commission Regulation (EU) No 284/2012
TARP REG/NI/2012/01 Feed and food originating in or consigned from Japan 26/03/12 Commission Implementing Regulation (EU) No. 250/2012
TARP REG/NI/2012/02 Import of feed and food originating in or consigned from Japan 02/04/12 Commission Implementing Regulation (EU) No. 284/2012
TARP REG/NI/2012/03 Import of feed and food originating in or consigned from Japan 01/07/12 Commission Implementing Regulation (EU) No. 561/2012
TARP REG/NI/2012/04 Import of feed and food originating in or consigned from Japan 01/07/12 Commission Implementing Regulation (EU) No. 561/2012
TARP REG/NI/2012/05 Import of propolis and bee pollen from China intended for human consumption or animal feed 23/08/12 Commission Implementing Decision 2012/482/EU
TARP REG/NI/2012/06 Import of feed and food originating in or consigned from Japan 30/10/12 Commission Implementing Regulation (EU) No. 996/2012
TARP REG/NI/2012/07 Further extension to the suspension of imports of certain bivalve molluscs for human consumption from Peru 01/12/12 Decision 2012/729/EU

 

Food not containing animal products

The EU Official Controls Regulation 882/2004 and The Official Feed and Food Controls (England) Regulations 2009 (the OFFC Regulations 2009) and the equivalent in Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland are the main legislation for the control of food not of animal origin entering the UK from non-EU countries. Copies of the OFFC Regulations 2009 can be found on the legislation.gov.uk website at the links below. When there are reasonable grounds to suspect that any food or feed from a non-EU country may introduce a serious risk to public health the Agency may issue a Declaration under Regulation 35 of the OFFC Regulations 2009 to suspend or impose import restrictions on any product from the whole or part of that non-EU country. When the European Commission issue EU-wide emergency safeguard measures for food from a non-EU country, the Agency may apply these in the UK by means of a Declaration. In addition to the general food safety requirements in EC Regulation 178/2002, the OFFC Regulations 2007 require that food imported from non-EU countries must comply with the food hygiene requirements of EC Regulation 852/2004 - the Food Hygiene Regulations. England legislation and Declarations

Reference Subject With effect from EU legislation
OFFC/2009/E/002 Melamine in products from China 15/12/09 Commission Regulation 2009/1135/EC
OFFC 2009/E/003 Aflatoxins from certain third countries 17/12/10 Commission Regulation 2009/1152/EC
OFFC 2009/E/004 Mineral oil in sunflower oil from the Ukraine 17/12/09 Commission Regulation 2009/1151/EC
OFFC 2010/E/001 Guar Gum from India 09/04/10 Commission Regulation (EU) 258/2010
OFFC 2012/E/002 Import of certain foodstuffs from certain third countries due to contamination risk by aflatoxins 28/03/12 Commission Regulation (EU) No 274/2012
OFFC 2013/E/003 Import of feed and food originating in or consigned from Japan 31/05/13 Commission Implementing Regulation (EU) 495/2013
OFFC 2013/E/001 Aflatoxins in certain products for human consumption from Brazil, China, Egypt, Iran, Turkey and USA 15/02/13 Commission Regulation (EU) No 91/2013
OFFC 2013/E/002 Aflatoxins in certain products from human consumption from India, Ghana and Nigeria 15/02/13 Commission Regulation (EU) No 91/2013

Wales legislation and Declarations

Wales legislation and Declarations

Reference Subject With effect from EU legislation
OFFC W/003/2007 Aflatoxins in certain products from Brazil, China, Egypt, Iran, Turkey and the USA 29/11/07 Commission Decision 2006/504/EC as amended by Commission Decision 2007/459/EC, Commission Decision 2007/563/EC and Commission Decision 2007/759/EC
OFFC/2008/W/003 Mineral oil in sunflower oil from the Ukraine 13/06/08 Commission Decision 2008/433/EC
OFFC/2008/W/004 Milk products from China 26/09/08 Commission Decision 2008/757/EC
OFFC/2008/W/005 Milk products from China 17/10/08 Commission Decision 2008/798/EC
OFFC/2008/W/006 Soya and soya products from China 11/12/08 Commission Decision 2008/921/EC
OFFC/2008/W/007 Milk and milk products and soya and soya products from China 22/12/08 Commission Decision 2008/798/EC
Commission Decision 2008/921/EC
OFFC/2009/W/002 Imposing special conditions governing the import of certain products originating in or consigned from China, and repealing Commission Decision 2008/798/EC 25/11/09 Commission Regulation 2009/1135/EC
OFFC/2010/W/001 Pentachlorophenol and dioxins in guar gum from India 15/04/10 Commission Decision 2010/258/EC
OFFC 2011/W/002 Food and Feed from Japan 26/03/2011 Commission Regulation 297/2011
OFFC 2011/W/004 Food and Feed from Japan 12/04/2011 Commission Regulation 351/2011
OFFC 2011/W/006 Food and Feed from Japan 24/05/2011 Commission Regulation 506/2011
OFFC 2011/W/009 Food and Feed from Japan 11/07/2011 Commission Regulation 657/2011
OFFC 2011/W/011 Food and Feed from Japan 29/09/2011 Commission Regulation 961/2011
OFFC 2011/W/012 Seeds from Egypt 07/10/2011 Commission Decision 2011/662
OFFC 2011/W/013 Seeds from Egypt 01/11/2011 Commission Decision 2011/718
OFFC 2011/W/018 Food and Feed from Japan 22/12/2011 Commission Regulation 1371/2011
OFFC 2011/W/019 Seeds from Egypt 29/12/2011 Commission Decision 2011/880
OFFC 2012/W/003 Food and Feed from Japan 23/03/2012 Commission Regulation 250/2012
OFFC 2012/W/004 Aflatoxins in foods from Brazil, China, Egypt, Iran, Turkey and the United States of America 30/03/2012 Commission Regulation 274/2012
OFFC 2012/W/005 Food and Feed from Japan 30/05/2012 Commission Regulation 284/2012
OFFC 2012/W/008 Food and Feed from Japan 29/06/2012 Commission Regulation 561/2012
OFFC 2013/W/001 Aflatoxins in foods from Brazil, China, Egypt, Iran, Turkey and the United States of America 13/02/2013 Commission Regulation 91/2013
OFFC 2013/W/002 Aflatoxins in foods from India, Ghana and Nigeria 13/02/2013 Commission Regulation 91/2013

Northern Ireland legislation and Declarations

Reference Subject With effect from EU legislation
OFFC/2007/NI/003 Aflatoxins in certain products from Brazil, China, Egypt, Iran, Turkey and the USA 24/11/07 Commission Decision 2006/504/EC as amended by Commission Decision 2007/459/EC, Commission Decision 2007/563/EC and Commission Decision 2007/759/EC
OFFC/2008/NI/001 Pentachlorophenol and dioxins in guar gum from India 05/05/08 Commission Decision 2008/352/EC
OFFC/2008/NI/003 Mineral oil in sunflower oil from the Ukraine 13/06/08 Commission Decision 2008/433/EC
OFFC/2008/NI/004 Milk products from China 26/09/08 Commission Decision 2008/757/EC
OFFC/2008/NI/005 Milk products from China 16/10/08 Commission Decision 2008/798/EC
OFFC/2008/NI/006 Soya and soya products from China 11/12/08 Commission Decision 2008/921/EC
OFFC/2008/NI/007 Milk and milk products and soya and soya products from China 22/12/08 Commission Decision 2008/798/EC
Commission Decision 2008/921/EC
OFFC/2009/NI/001 Imposing special conditions governing the import of pears from Turkey 18/11/09 Commission Decision 2009/835/EC
OFFC/2009/NI/002 Imposing special conditions governing the import of certain products originating in or consigned from China, and repealing Commission Decision 2008/798/EC 25/11/09 Commission Regulation 2009/1135/EC
OFFC/2009/NI/003 Imposing special conditions governing the import of certain foodstuffs from certain third countries due to contamination risk by aflatoxins and repealing Decision 2006/504/EC 27/11/09 Commission Regulation 2009/1152/EC
OFFC/2009/NI/004 Imposing special conditions governing the import of sunflower oil originating in or consigned from Ukraine due to contamination risks by mineral oil and repealing Decision 2008/433/EC 27/11/09 Commission Regulation 2009/1151/EC
POAO/NI/2010/001 Pentachlorophenol and dioxins in guar gum originating in or consigned from India 15/04/10 Commission Regulation 258/2010
OFFC/2011/NI/001 Import of food and feed from Japan 27/03/11 Commission Regulation (EU) No 297/2011
OFFC/NI/2011/002 Feed and food originating from Japan 13/04/11 Commission Regulation 297/2011
OFFC/NI/2011/003 Feed and food originating in or consigned from Japan 25/05/11 Commission Implementing Regulation (EU) No.506/2011
OFFC/NI/2011/004 Fenugreek seeds and certain seeds and beans imported from Egypt 07/07/11 Commission Implementing Decision 2011/402/EU
OFFC/2011/NI/005 Import of food and feed from Japan 11/07/11 Commission Regulation (EU) No 657/2011
OFFC/NI/2011/006 Feed and food originating in or consigned from Japan 01/10/11 Commission Implementing Regulation (EU) No 961/2011
OFFC/NI/2011/007 Fenugreek seeds and certain seeds and beans imported from Egypt 07/10/11 Decision 2011/662/EU
OFFC/NI/2011/008 Fenugreek seeds and certain seeds and beans imported from Egypt 01/11/11 Decision 2011/718/EU
OFFC/NI/2011/009 Feed and food originating in or consigned from Japan 25/12/11 Commission Implementing Regulation (EU) No. 1371/2011
OFFC/NI/2011/10 Fenugreek seeds and certain seeds and beans imported from Egypt 28/12/11 Decision 2011/880/EU
OFFC/NI/2012/01 Feed and food originating in or consigned from Japan 26/03/12 Commission Implementing Regulation (EU) No. 250/2012
OFFC/NI/2012/03 Feed and food originating in or consigned from Japan 02/04/12 Commission Implementing Regulation (EU) No. 284/2012
OFFC/NI/2012/04 Feed and food originating in or consigned from Japan 01/07/12 Commission Implementing Regulation (EU) No. 561/2012
OFFC/NI/2012/05 Feed and food originating in or consigned from Japan 09/07/12 Commission Implementing Regulation (EU) No 561/2012
OFFC/NI/2012/06 Feed and food originating in or consigned from Japan 30/10/12 Commission Implementing Regulation (EU) No. 996/2012