Importing Animal Origin Food and Feed Products (POAO)

Why we have border controls

Official controls are in place under UK law to make sure imported products meet GB standards for animal and public health.

Imports are checked at border control posts approved to handle each type of product. Felixstowe and Harwich are approved to inspect imports of animal products for human consumption, feed and technical uses.

We follow a rigorous process which includes document checks and product examinations to establish the safety of imported products and we charge a fee for the service payable by the person responsible for the load.

Where border checks are carried out

There are inspection facilities at Felixstowe and Harwich for refrigerated and ambient products for human consumption and for animal by-products but please note that while Harwich BCP is approved for chilled animal by-products, Felixstowe BCP is not

The facilities are approved by DEFRA and regularly audited by the Animal and Plant Health Agency to ensure standards are maintained.

The border control post facilities at Felixstowe are owned and operated by the Port of Felixstowe which presents consignments there, on behalf of the person responsible for the load, for Suffolk Coastal Port Health Authority to examine. At Harwich the BCP facilities are owned and operated by Harwich International Port.

What we check

Retained Reg. (EU) 2019/2007 lists the animal products that are subject to official border controls and includes products such as:

  • red meat, farmed game and poultry
  • fish and shellfish
  • dairy products
  • honey
  • animal by-products such as petfood dog chews, dried mealworms for wild bird feed, feathers, wool
  • hay and straw

Composite products which are subject to checks are listed in retained Commission Decision 2007/275 The rules about composite products (products for human consumption consisting of processed product of animal origin combined with plant material) can be complex. Further guidance on the legislation and import conditions is available under Composites.

Complying with import conditions

Import conditions for most animal products can be found here APHA Vet Gateway: Import Information Notes ( . For fishery products for human consumption please see Importing fishery products or bivalve molluscs | Food Standards Agency

Products can be imported only from countries appearing on lists published by DEFRA or in legislation. For products with animal health requirements and for the list of countries with approved residue control plans – see For other countries please see the relevant article of retained Decision (EU) 2019/626

Products must also originate from approved or registered premises. Where the import conditions require the product to be imported from an approved establishment, they must come from a premises listed here Authorised_Establishments_Updated_02112023.xlsx ( Please note that where there is a date listed in column I ‘Date of request’, only product produced and certified on or after that date can be imported. There is no similar list for premises which have only to be registered e.g. honey establishments

Most consignments must be accompanied by a health certificate in accordance with the published model certificate and must comply with the conditions and legislation detailed in the certificate:  Model health certificates for exports of live animals and animal products to Great Britain – GOV.UK (

Consignments of animal product subject to official border controls may not be removed from the border control post until all official border controls have been completed, the required fees paid and a CHEDP authorising import or transit has been issued.

COMMON HEALTH ENTRY DOCUMENT (CHED-P) for products of animal origin, composite products and animal by-products

Approval of BCPs

The BCP at which consignments intended for import into or transit across GB arrive must be approved to handle the products concerned. The list of BCPs can be found here: UK border control posts: animal and animal product imports – GOV.UK ( Please ensure you scroll to the right to see information about the specific approvals of the BCP, use the right arrow on your keyboard

Please note that Felixstowe is not approved to handle chilled animal by-products and such consignments intended for import or transit must not be landed at Felixstowe.

Requirements for CHED-Ps

In accordance with retained Reg. (EU) 2019/1013, the person responsible for the load must notify the authority responsible for the BCP at least one working day before the expected arrival of the consignment of products of animal origin and animal by-products listed in retained Regulation (EU) 2019/2007 or, in the case of composite products, those subject to official border controls in accordance with retained Decision 2007/275, which are intended for import into or transit across GB.

Notification must be by completion of a CHED-P in IPAFFS. IPAFFS Import of products, animals, food and feed system (IPAFFS) – GOV.UK ( is an IT platform operated by DEFRA that must be used to generate the CHED-P. Guidance notes on how to complete the CHED-P in IPAFFS can be found here.

Please double-check your CHED-Ps are fully and accurately completed. Arranging for amendments to be made is time-consuming and causes delay.

Keeping your IPAFFS login confidential

When signing up to the IPAFFS system, you agree to keep your personal login details confidential and this requirement must be respected. 

Legal obligations

The CHED-P as completed by the person responsible for the load in IPAFFS is a legal declaration. As the person responsible for the load, when you submit the CHED-P for certification in IPAFFS you are confirming that:

I, the undersigned operator responsible for the consignment detailed above, certify that to the best of my knowledge and belief the statements made in Part I of this document are true and complete, and I agree to comply with the requirements of retained Regulation 2017/625 on official controls, including payment for official controls, as well as for re-dispatching consignments, quarantine or isolation of consignments, or costs of destruction and disposal where necessary.

As an individual signing such a statement in IPAFFS, you must ensure you know how these liabilities will be covered by you or your employer as applicable, and that you or your company have the necessary contractual arrangements, or insurance, to recover such costs from the person or company instructing you as applicable. In particular, costs of destruction can be considerable. The destruction of a high-risk container under official supervision can amount to tens of thousands of pounds.

Submission of CHED-P and required documents

The declaration in IPAFFS is the legal declaration and a signed paper CHED is not required to be submitted.  However, the required documents must be submitted to Port Health before we can start our checks. Depending on the import conditions, the required documents may include an original health certificate, mandatory test reports in some cases or the statutory ‘commercial document’ required for certain animal by-products. In addition to these original documents, we also require a copy of the bill of lading or CMR and commercial invoice, as well as a copy of the packing list.

Copy health certificates

If you require an authenticated copy of the health certificate, statutory test report or statutory commercial document for your records, then you should submit a photocopy of the document when you submit the original document. The photocopy needs to be an accurate copy of the original and be double or single-sided as per the original. If these requirements are met, the photocopy will be authenticated and returned to you. If the requirements are not met, the photocopy will be kept on file and not returned.

Release of consignments

Part II of the CHED-P is completed by BCP staff in IPAFFS when all of our checks have been completed, indicating the checks carried out, the outcome of those checks and the seal applied where applicable. The CHED-P with part II completed is then printed from IPAFFS and signed and stamped by one of our Official Veterinary Surgeons (OVS) or Official Fish Inspectors (OFI).

The original CHED-P signed by the OVS/OFI is returned to the person responsible for the load.

Legal requirement for the CHED-P to accompany consignment to delivery address

The original CHED-P signed by the OVS/OFI must be forwarded by the person responsible for the load to the delivery address declared on the CHED-P without delay.

Legal requirement to deliver goods to the destination declared on the CHED-P

It is an offence to deliver the consignment to a delivery address other than that declared on the CHED-P. If for any reason the delivery address has to change after the CHED-P is issued, you must notify us so we can make a record of this for traceability purposes.

How we check imports at Felixstowe

Documentary Check

All animal origin imports covered by official controls at the border are subjected to a documentary check, including an assessment of the CHED-P in IPAFFS, public and animal health certification and accompanying commercial documents which may include bill of lading or CMR, invoice and packing list.

Identity Check

Consignments are also subject to an identity check which involves verification that the product, identification marks, stamps and other necessary product and package information conform to the declaration on the health certificates and GB legislation.

Physical Check

A percentage of consignments must also be physically checked to see that the product remains fit for its intended purpose. The physical check may include sampling the product to look for pathogenic micro-organisms or contaminants such as residues of veterinary drugs or heavy metals.

From time to time, border control posts may be instructed to vary the rate of checking and type of sampling because of known problems in the exporting country.

Physical Checking Frequency

The level of physical checks is laid down in Annex II of retained Regulation (EU) 2019/2129 and varies between 1 % and 30% depending on the product type. For certain products where there is a known health risk DEFRA may prescribe a higher level of checking which may include compulsory sampling.

Great Britain has an equivalence agreement with New Zealand and imports from this country are subject to lower physical checks and the charges levied for imports are reduced.

Satisfactory checks

On satisfactory completion of the official controls at the BCP, consignments may be released for free circulation in Great Britain .

Unsatisfactory Checks

Products failing to satisfy import conditions may be re-dispatched to a country outside the European Economic Area.

If the consignment is deemed to be a risk to human or animal health, or where the person responsible for the consignment fails to comply with a direction to re-dispatch, it must instead be sent for destruction.

All costs for destruction are to be met by the person responsible for the consignment.

Where, following official controls on a product, a notice is served requiring that product to be re-dispatched or destroyed, an appeal may usually be brought to a Magistrates Court. This right must be exercised within one month of the date the notice was served.

Judicial Review is still the only form of redress available for some enforcement notices under the Regulations. On receipt of a notice, recipients are advised to contact their legal advisers if they wish to appeal against the notice.

What we charge for checking imports

A standard minimum charge is levied which is set out in legislation. Where the cost to the authority of administering the official controls is higher, the legislation provides that the actual cost can be levied. Further charges for laboratory examination or analysis may also be levied. Please refer to our schedule of charges.

Other sources of information on import controls

Smuggled Imports

The responsibility for enforcing the controls in relation to illegal imports at ports is assigned to Border Force. Local Authorities are responsible for this activity inland only where goods have been Customs cleared.

Personal Imports

Details of the rules on personal imports for products of animal origin on GOV.UK.


The Trade in Animals and Related Products Regulations 2011 SI 2011 No. 1197

General Information

DEFRA are the lead department for the policy and legislation for POAO imports. The Animal and Plant Health Agency (APHA) look after the delivery of the official controls checks at Border Control Posts.

Advice and guidance on importing and exporting animal products can be found on GOV.UK. Details on many of the requirements can be found on the APHA Border Control Posts page. In particular, detailed product import conditions can be found in the ‘Import Information Notes’ link and further information in the ‘OVS notes’ link The FSA website is a good source of information on imported food for both commercial and personal imports.


We know how difficult it can be to select the find the correct IPAFFS to match the scientific names on the health certificate. To help you get this right we have developed a search tool to assist.

The search tool is linked to a database of fish species. Although it covers over 2000 species, it is not an exhaustive list. If you are searching for a species that you know will be imported through Felixstowe and cannot find it in our database, please email for advice.