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Food Standards Agency welcomes proposals for new import controls to protect consumers

The draft Border Target Operating Model (BTOM) has been set out by the government today. It proposes a new global regime for imported food and feed products entering the UK.

Last updated: 31 August 2023
See all updates
Last updated: 31 August 2023
See all updates

The UK government has now published the final Target Operating Model (TOM), setting out the new regime for imported food and feed products entering the UK. 

Defra has now published the TOM risk categories for EU commodities and Non-EU commodities.

We are now asking our stakeholders and other interested parties to review the draft and share their feedback with us. 

The FSA has engaged extensively with the lead government departments; the Cabinet Office, DHSC and Defra, as well as the Devolved Governments, to ensure food and feed safety and consumer protection remains at the heart of the proposals. 

The draft proposals mean that from October 2023: 

  • controls will be phased in, starting with health certification for higher risk imported food and feed from the EU
  • as now, authorities will be notified of products that may pose a higher risk (most animal products and plant based high risk food and feed) entering the country, allowing for targeted checks on products of concern
  • the level of checks at the border will be risk-based, based on the food safety risk posed to the consumer 
  • all food and feed products entering the UK will have proportionate controls along the whole production and supply chain, farm to fork

FSA Chair, Susan Jebb said:

Last year the FSA’s annual report on food standards concluded that establishing full UK import controls for high-risk food and feed from the EU by the end of 2023 must be a priority. This reflected our concern that the longer the UK operates without assurances that EU products meet our high safety standards, the less confident we can be that we can effectively identify potential safety incidents.

We therefore strongly support the introduction of risk-based controls on food and feed coming into the UK from the EU. We also welcome an imports regime that is consistent for food and feed whether it comes from the EU or the rest of the world. It is vital that inspectors at ports can act where the data or other intelligence suggests there might be risk. Inspectors need complete and timely information about food and feed coming into the UK, so that checks and sampling at the border can be conducted as efficiently and as effectively as possible.

These controls are critical to maintaining the UK’s high food and feed safety standards. They will help the FSA and its partners to more rapidly track down unsafe food or feed and help stop it being sold.


The FSA encourages all those with an interest in public health protection and food to review the draft Border Target Operating Model and share feedback via the Gov.UK survey.