Import & Export Regulations


When importing food, you need to know about regulations that apply to specific products and more general rules concerning licencing, labelling and packaging. Failure to comply could cause delay and require action by the enforcement authorities. These include legal and import regulations for food products, such as licenses, organic certification, Fair Trade certification and quality standards.

Some products can only come into the European Union (EU) through specific ports.

The free movement of goods and services is a key principle of the European Union (EU). In addition, under the Mutual Recognition Regulation (EC 764/2008), member states must allow goods that are legally sold in another member state also to be sold in their own territory. The main advantage of mutual recognition is that it removes the need to harmonise all national technical rules. Technical rules typically relate to weight, size, composition, labelling and packaging.

Remember that in general it is much simpler to export to other EU countries than to countries outside the EU. This is because the goods are in free circulation. The EU is a single market and the UK is in a Customs Union so you can export to other EU countries without restriction (although some local charges may still apply).

Food Trade Affairs can provide assistance with the regulations and certification requirements needed to gain admittance to international markets.

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