Frequently Asked Questions

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Are there any import conditions for my consignment

If you have a general enquiry about a product that you are considering importing you can look for further information on our import guidance pages where there is guidance on the legislation as well as links to sources of further information.

We can assist importers using the ports of Felixstowe, Ipswich and Harwich with enquiries in relation to their imports. In order that we can capture the relevant information about your consignment please complete the Import Enquiry Form. Enquiries for imports to other ports should be made to the relevant port health authority/local authority.

What are the rules about importing composite POAO?

Please see detailed guidance available on the assessment of composite POAO.

Is my fishery health certificate compliant with the new format?

From the 26 November 2012 a new health certificate for fishery products for human consumption.

There are minor changes to Boxes I.1 and I.28, change to the title of part II, changes to the animal health attestation (part II.2) and changes to the notes.

The public health attestation (part II.1) of the new certificate are unchanged compared to the old certificate.

The changes to the certificate have been highlighted Model Health Certificate 1012/2012.

The inspector in the exporting country will need to check the Part II.2 (animal health attestation) on the certificate and amend it as relevant for your consignment.

The animal health attestation (i.e. the whole of part II.2) is to be omitted or deleted for the following categories:

All wild origin fishery products

the following aquaculture (farmed) products (see notes at end of certificate):

(a) Non-viable aquaculture crustaceans, which means crustaceans no longer able to survive as living animals if returned to the environment from which they were obtained

(b) Aquaculture fish which are slaughtered and eviscerated (gutted) before dispatch

(c) Aquaculture animals and products made from raw material obtained from aquaculture which are placed on the market for human consumption without further processing, provided that they are packed in retail-sale packages

Where the aquaculture fishery product is not covered by (a) to (c) above (e.g. aquaculture fish which has not been evicerated (gutted) not in retail packs, for example farmed tilapia or catfish, or aquaculture fish roe not in retail packs, for example roe of farmed salmon) the following apply:

  1. Part II.2.3 re transport and labelling is always completed. Note the labelling requirement.
  2. Part II.2.1 has to be completed for:
  • Species susceptible to Epizootic haematopoietic necrosis (EHN), (Rainbow trout [Oncorhynchus mykiss] and redfin perch [Perca fluviatilis]).
  • (Taura syndrome and Yellowhead disease are crustacean diseases – we see only non-viable crustaceans so this is not applicable)

Otherwise part II.2.1 is deleted or omitted from the certificate.

3. Part II.2.2 has to be completed for species susceptible to Viral Haemorrhagic Septicaemia (VHS), Infectious Haematopoietic Necrosis (IHN), Infectious Salmon Anaemia (ISA) or Koi Herpes Virus (KHV) but only where the fishery product is intended for a Member State, zone or compartment free of the relevant disease or subject to a surveillance or eradication programme for the relevant disease. (White spot disease refers to such disease affecting crustaceans only – as we see only non-viable crustaceans so this is not applicable to trade through Felixstowe).

Otherwise part II.2.2 should be deleted or omitted from the certificate.

Susceptible species:

Details of susceptible species are found in Annex IV of 2006/88 – latest list in Directive 2008/053

If you need further advice on completion of the certificate in these circumstances please contact the port health office for further advice.

Fishery products from New Zealand and USA

New Zealand and USA health certificates remain unchanged. However where the animal health attestations would be required, these must be provided in addition to the usual NZ or USA fishery products certificate and would be in the form of the certificate laid down in Regulation 1012/2012 minus the public health attestations.

Do the new plastics rules apply to dog and other pet food bowls and containers?

No, the new rules only apply to food for human consumption, items that will come into feed for pets are not covered.

How can I ensure that my container clears port health promptly?

To enable prompt examination and release ensure that you get your documentation to us at least 24 hours before the vessel arrives, so we are able to carry out the necessary documentary checks and request your container for examination before it is unloaded.

This will mean that the container is placed in a more convenient location for presentation at the examination facility.

There are other advantages in getting paperwork in early; if there are any queries with the documentation submitted these can often be resolved before the examination and the import will not be delayed.

Pre-notification - what are the rules?

The time that the pre-notification is required by Port Health varies depending on the EU legislation that applies to the product. Please see below for a list summarising the current rules.
Product Legislation  Information required  Time-scale
 High risk products non animal origin food and feed CR 669/2009 Article 6 CED  1 working day
 Aflatoxin controls non animal origin food CR 669/2009 Article 6 CED  1 working day
 Guar gum from India food and feed (PCPs) CR 258/2010 Article 4 Estimated date and time of arrival  Before arrival
 Soya/ soya products,milk/milk products, ammonium bicarbonate (China) food and feed CR 1135/2009 Article 3 Estimated date and time of arrival  Before arrival
 Illegal unreported and unregulated (IUU) fishing catch certificates CR 1005/2008 Article 16 Catch certificate  3 working days
 Food and feed consigned from Japan (radiation) CIR 961/2011 Article 4 Estimated date of arrival  2 working days
 Plastic kitchenware China / Hong Kong CR 284/2011  Article 4 PDD  2 working days
 Rice and rice products from China (GMOs) CID 2011/884  Article 3 Estimated date and time of arrival  Before arrival
 Organic food and feed CR 1235/2008 and Organic Products Regs 2009 Reg 6 COI  1 working day
 Crude and refined sunflower oil from Ukraine food or feed CR 1151/2009 Article 3 Estimated date and time of arrival  1 working day
 Products of animal origin CD 97/78/EC CVED  Before arrival

When is my container going to be examined?

You can check the location of your container on the Port of Felixstowe website

If the code is TTYCOLD then the container is at the TCEF/ coldstore (Temperature Controlled Examination Facility) being examined.

If the code is TTY70SH then the container is at 70 Shed the ambient examination facility.

Codes with a Q mean that the container is stored at the dedicated examination storage facility. Containers are often brought here the night before the examination is due, however, this does not guarantee that your container will be examined next day and you may wish to check with the relevant examination shed to find out when your examination is scheduled.

To find out which of the examination facilities to contact, you can check on Destin8 if you have access to it.

How long will it take for my container to be examined?

The Port of Felixstowe has a target time for examinations of two days after landing with a maximum of three days.

My consignment has been held/detained by port health what do I do?

Port Health reviews the manifests for every vessel entering the port. The descriptions are checked to ensure that consignments which are subject to controls under the law, or are considered to be a risk to public health; meet the import requirements. All suspect consignments are detained/held via the Destin8 system – which means that the consignment cannot leave the port until the detention is removed.

The descriptions on the manifest system are not very detailed and sometimes we will detain consignments that are not subject to checks because we don’t know what they are. For example plastic bags could be plastic bags containing food or they might be empty plastic bags.

If we detain your consignment you will need to send to us a copy of the invoice, packing list and bill of lading so that we can see what the product is and arrange for it to be released.

If you are importing a controlled product you will need to send through the commercial documents plus any certification or analytical reports that are required. You should check the import guidance pages for details.

Submitting information about a consignment

If you have additional paperwork that you are submitting in respect of a consignment that has been detained or that you expect will be detained it is easier to process if you are able to submit this to us by fax.

All faxes are received into the office electronically. The electronic fax can then be attached to the computer records for your consignment. This not only saves us time, but is greener and means that we can find all the information that you sent in if there is a query.

If you are not able to fax the documents there are arrangements in place to handle emailed information for your consignment.

By Phone 01394 613330
By Fax 01394 613331

How do I access EU Legislation?

EU legislation can be found at:

Under the tab ‘EU law’, click on ‘Legal Acts’. On next page click on ‘Search in legal acts’.

Half way down the next page in the boxes under ‘Document reference’ enter the year and number of the legislation. Click the ‘search’ button (top or bottom of the page).

On the next screen, click on the heading of the legislation you require. Make sure you select the correct legislation as different legislation can have similar numbers.

The heading of the legislation is a hyperlink to the legislation. (Note there is also a hyperlink to the latest consolidated version at this point if you need it but see below). On the next page click on the pdf icon under the language you require to bring up the original version of the legislation.

However the original legislation is frequently amended. Over time, these amendments are incorporated into a consolidated version of the legislation but note that a new consolidated version is not issued immediately the legislation is amended, it could be some months later. This means here may be some outstanding amendments not yet included in the latest consolidated version. So before using the latest consolidated version you must check there are no additional amendments not yet included which you need to know about.

To check, click on ‘Document Information’ on the left side of the screen. Scroll down and you will see, under ‘Amended by’, all the amendments to the original legislation and below that all the consolidated versions with the latest at the top of the list. If there are any amendments after the date of the latest consolidated version you will need to consult these too.

Please be aware that sometimes an amendment is included in the consolidated version but the changes do not come into effect immediately, e.g. a new certificate is laid down but the new certificate is not mandatory for 6 months. This delayed implementation will not be reflected in the consolidated version.

Also the preamble (the ‘recitals’) which explains why the legislation was issued now appear only in the original legislation and are not included in the consolidated version.

How much will I be charged for the examination of my consignment?

Charges are calculated annually on a cost recovery basis.

A list of the current Port Health charges can be found on the fees page.

Other Charges

In addition to the charge that Port Health makes the Port of Felixstowe may also make some additional charges to produce your container for examination and for the storage of the goods. Please see the full list of costs.


Devan/revan charges will be imposed where appropriate, you should discuss this with the LCL office. Costs are higher at the TCEF.

What are all the charges that I have got?

Importers sometimes contact us when they have received their final bill from their agent and find that it is higher that they anticipated. This may often be where the consignment has been refused entry and destroyed. In such cases there may be several elements to the charge some of which will be from port health and some which will be from the Port of Felixstowe to cover their costs of handling and storing your consignment.

You should ask your agent for a break down of the charge, so that you can find out which part of it relates to port health, if you are still concerned about the costs please contact us.

I am not happy with the service that I have received what do I do?

We are always sorry to hear if you are unhappy with the way that you have been treated.

We will always work with you to resolve any issues.

Please see the information in the Feedback section providing details about our complaints policy and advice about steps that you can take to raise your concerns with us.