A composite product is a food for human consumption containing processed animal products combined with plant material.
It might be made by combining a previously processed animal product with plant material, e.g. a beef sandwich, or processing the animal origin material during the manufacture of the composite product e.g. a cooked prawn spring roll.
The product will not be a referred to as a composite product if it contains any raw material of animal origin or if it is not intended for human consumption e.g. it is pet food.
There are two situations where a processed animal product combined with plant material would not be considered a composite product – if the plant material has only a technical role in the processing, or is present only to add a special characteristic e.g. flavour.
In the following examples the products would be considered processed products of animal origin rather than composite products:
Canned tuna in vegetable oil. This is a processed fishery product and not a composite product because the vegetable oil is necessary as part of the manufacturing process of the canned fish.
Where sugar is added for sweetness, herbs and spices are used to add flavour, or plant products are added as a thickening agent or as decoration, they would also be considered products of animal origin.
See below for FAQs on composites.
In general, any composite food product that contains a product of animal origin requires a veterinary check, unless it meets all of the criteria below.
Products exempt from veterinary checks must meet all the following criteria:
Additionally, composite products on the following list are also exempt, provided they do not contain any meat products (including meat extracts and powders) and any dairy content is from an approved source. View the list of exempt products and find out more about products that are subject to checks.
If your consignment is detained by Port Health you will need to submit further information (usually by email).
Basic information needed for all detained consignments:
Where it is not clear that the goods are exempt from veterinary checks, further information will be required:
The above information should come from the exporter clearly identifying the consignment concerned, or from the manufacturer clearly identifying the product concerned and dated less than 6 months from the date of dispatch.
N.B. Even for composite products not subject to checks, all animal-origin ingredients must be EU-compliant i.e. the ingredients must come either from the EU or be from a third country on the relevant EU third country list with an approved residue control plan for the product concerned and be from an EU approved establishment
We are happy to provide advice in cases where you are not sure whether a product is a composite product or not, if you can send us the relevant information: