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 European Union standards for animal and public health.

Imports are checked at border control posts approved to handle each type of product. Felixstowe is approved to inspect imports for and not for human consumption.

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 importer. 

Where border checks are carried out

There are two inspection facilities at Felixstowe for products of animal origin, one for refrigerated products and animal by-products and another for animal products for human consumption carried at ambient temperature.

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

The border control post at Felixstowe is owned and operated by the Port of Felixstowe which presents consignments there on behalf of the importer, or person responsible for the load, for Suffolk Coastal Port Health Authority to examine.

What we check

Regulation (EU) 2019/2007 lists the products that are subject to veterinary checks 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 meal worms for wild bird feed, feathers, wool
  • hay and straw

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

Complying with import conditions

Products can be imported only from countries appearing on lists published by DEFRA – see https://www.data.gov.uk/dataset/b92627b0-dd7b-4e1d-ba36-e25424f55eeb/non-eu-countries-approved-to-export-animals-and-animal-products-to-great-britain .

Products must also originate from approved or registered premises and must comply with animal and public health conditions for the raw material used and the production process.

Import conditions must be complied with for a consignment to be permitted import and free circulation within Great Britain.

As a general rule, all products of animal origin will require health certification issued by the competent authority of the exporting country containing declarations of compliance with the public and animal health criteria laid down in the import conditions.

Consignments of products of animal origin may not be removed from the border control post until all veterinary checks are complete and the required fees paid.

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 (www.gov.uk).

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) 2019/2013 Commission Implementing Regulation (EU) 2019/1013 of 16 April 2019 on prior notification of consignments of certain categories of animals and goods entering the Union (Text with EEA relevance) (legislation.gov.uk) 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 Commission Implementing Regulation (EU) 2019/2007 of 18 November 2019 laying down rules for the application of Regulation (EU) 2017/625 of the European Parliament and of the Council as regards the lists of animals, products of animal origin, germinal products, animal by-products and derived products and hay and straw subject to official controls at border control posts and amending Decision 2007/275/EC (Text with EEA relevance) (legislation.gov.uk) or in the case of composite products subject to in accordance with retained Decision 2007/275 COMMISSION DECISION of 17 April 2007 concerning lists of composite products to be subject to controls at border control posts (notified under document number C(2007) 1547) (Text with EEA relevance) (2007/275/EC) (legislation.gov.uk) which are intended for import into or transit across GB.

Notification must be by submission of a CHED-P with Part 1 completed. IPAFFS Import of products, animals, food and feed system (IPAFFS) – GOV.UK (www.gov.uk) is an IT platform operated by DEFRA that should be used to generate the CHED-P. Guidance notes on how to complete the CHED-P in IPAFFS can be found here

Currently IPAFFS does not have the ability to host electronic signatures. As such, the CHED-P must be printed from the system and signed by the person responsible for the load to create the legal document required.

Unfortunately, when a CHED-P is printed from IPAFFS, the system does not print the CHED-P reference number on the page with the signature strip, usually this is the second page. If it is not possible to print double-sided, then the reference number must be written on the page with the signature strip so there is no doubt that the pages with the consignment details are clearly linked to the page with the signature.

Where the CHED-P is printed on more than one sheet of paper, each sheet must also be signed so there is no doubt that the printed pages are all linked and signed for.

We will not usually commence our checks until such time as the CHED-P with the original signature, signed and referenced as above, has been submitted.

Please double-check CHED-Ps are fully and accurately completed before submitting. 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 login details confidential and this requirement must be respected. We have come across several cases where the CHED-P has been signed by someone other than the person named on the CHED-P which is not acceptable. Where there is doubt, we may request a specimen signature.

Where it is confirmed that the document is signed by someone other than the person named on the CHED-P, we will not further process the consignment until an original CHED-P correctly signed by the person named on the CHED-P is submitted.

Legal obligations

The CHED-P is completed by the person responsible for the load and is a legal document. As the person responsible for the load, when you sign the CHED-P 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 you should 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 to recover such costs from the person or company instructing you or insurance as applicable. In particular, costs of destruction can be considerable. For example the destruction of a high risk container under official supervision can run to several £10,000s.

Submission of CHEDP and required documents

The original, signed CHED-P must be submitted to Port Health at least 1 working day prior to arrival of the consignment along with the required documents. Depending on the import conditions, these 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 and commercial invoice, also a copy of the packing list where available.

Import conditions covering the import of most animal products are available in Importer Information Notes published by APHA which can be found here APHA Vet Gateway: Import Information Notes (defra.gov.uk)

Ideally the required documents will be sent along with the signed, original CHED-P at least one working day prior to arrival but they can follow later. However, for container traffic we will not call consignments for exam until such time as the original certificate (or other required original document) has been submitted.

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 with the CHEDP. The photocopy needs to be an accurate copy of the original and be double-sided 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 and the outcome of those checks. The CHED-P with part II completed is then printed from IPAFFS and signed and stamped by one of our official veterinary surgeons or official fish inspectors.

Legal requirement for completed CHEDP to accompany consignment to delivery address

The original CHED-P is returned to the person responsible for the load along with an authenticated copy of the CHED-P.

The original CHED-P must be forwarded without delay to the delivery address declared on the CHED-P.

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

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, public and animal health certificates and accompanying commercial documentation, which may include bill of lading, 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 EU 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 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 the European Commission may prescribe a higher level of checking which may include compulsory sampling.

The European Union has negotiated equivalence agreements with New Zealand and Canada and imports from these countries are subject to lower physical checks and in the case of New Zealand the charges levied for imports are at a reduced level.

Satisfactory checks

On satisfactory completion of the official controls at the BCP, consignments may be released for free circulation into the European Union.

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 is 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 notice being 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 has been assigned to Border Force. Local Authorities are responsible for this activity inland where goods have been Customs cleared.

Personal Imports

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

Legislation

The Trade in Animals and Related Products Regulations 2011 SI 2011 No. 1197 as last amended by the TARP (Amendment) Regulations 2020 S.I. 2020 No 109.

General Information

Defra are the lead department for the policy and legislation for POAO imports.  It is the Animal and Plant Health Agency (APHA) who 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. 

The EU Commission also has a website dedicated to veterinary checks which contains a wealth of information and answers to frequently asked questions.

FISH NAMES SEARCH TOOL

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 technical.poao@scpha.gov.uk for advice.