Exporting food

Advice about commercially exporting food and feed to countries outside of the UK.

Exporting to other EU countries

Within the European Union (EU) there is ‘free movement’ of goods. Free movement is where goods, including food products, can freely move within the EU without customs checks (although there may be national controls where there are risks to public health).

If you are exporting food products from the UK to another EU country, contact the authority in the destination country, or their foreign embassy in the UK, to check if there are any specific restrictions.

Exporting to non-EU countries

If you are commercially exporting food from the UK to a non-EU country (a 'third country'), it is your responsibility to ensure that you are aware of any restrictions and what export conditions apply. You need to do this before food can be exported to the third country.

In the UK, the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra) and its agencies are the lead for international exports. Advice on exporting can be found on Defra’s website via the link on the right hand side of this page.

What you need to do will depend on the food product you want to export and the third country you are exporting to.

Export of unauthorised feed additives
Additives that have not been authorised in accordance with Regulation (EC) 1831/2003 on feed additives may be exported to third countries only if certain requirements are observed. More information can be found via the link towards the end of this page.

Export certificates

The FSA is not responsible for issuing export certificates for food items. Our role in relation to third country exports is to provide support to Defra and its agencies, and provide advice and guidance for UK local authorities.

Certain third countries may require food exports to be certified by a UK government authority before being exported.

Export Health Certificates (EHCs)
A list of available EHCs can be found on Defra’s website via the link on the right hand side of this page. The certificates are issued by Animal Health’s International Trade Centre at Carlisle to accompany certain export consignments. These primarily relate to exports of products of animal origin.

Contact details for the International Trade Centre can be found on the Animal Health and Veterinary Laboratories Agency (AHVLA) website via the link to the right.

Plants, grain, bulbs, fruit, vegetables and other plant products
Plant health exportation services are delivered by the Food and Environment Research Agency (Fera) for plants, plant products (including grain and bulbs), fruit and vegetables, potatoes (including seed potatoes) and seeds.

Advice on plant health exports can be found on the Fera website via the link to the right.

Certificates of Free Sale
Certificates of Free Sale are issued by the Rural Payments Agency (RPA) to accompany certain food products upon export. The standard certificate gives assurances that the food products are free from harmful radioactive material, are fit for human consumption and are freely sold in Britain and Northern Ireland.

For information on Certificates of Free Sale, and export licences for specific commodities, contact the RPA directly. RPA contact details can be found via the link to the right.

Other products
For food products not covered by the above, you may wish to contact your local authority for advice. You can use our online search tool via the link below to find your nearest local authority.

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