Controls are in place under UK law to make sure products imported into Great Britain meet GB standards.
Imports are checked at a Border Control Post (BCP) approved to handle each type of product. Felixstowe is approved to inspect imports of all categories of food and feed (except chilled feed imports subject to official controls).
We follow a rigorous process which includes document checks and physical product checks to establish the safety of imported products, and we charge a fee for the service payable by the importer.
There are two separate inspection facilities at Felixstowe, covering refrigerated products and ambient temperature products. An allergen inspection area is also available for nut products.
The facilities are approved by the Food Standards Agency (FSA) and Department for Food, Environment and Rural Affairs (DEFRA), and are audited by inspectors from the FSA and Animal and Plant Health Agency (APHA) 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.
Food and feed that pose risks to health are specifically controlled by UK law. This includes products identified as having an emerging risk, such as products subject to aflatoxin contamination (including nuts, dried fruits and spices) or pesticide contamination.
For a complete list of foodstuffs with GB import restrictions, please refer to the FSA website: https://www.food.gov.uk/business-guidance/foodstuffs-with-gb-import-restrictions
The list of emerging risk products is reviewed by the FSA.
Approval of Border Control Posts (BCPs)
The BCP at which consignments arrive which are intended for import into or transit across GB must be approved to handle the products concerned. The list of UK BCPs can be found here.
Please note that Felixstowe is not approved to handle chilled high-risk feed of non-animal origin and such consignments intended for import into or transit across GB must not be landed at Felixstowe.
Requirements for CHED-Ds
In accordance with retained CIR (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 controlled products which are intended for import into or transit across GB.
Notification must be by submission of a CHED-D with Part 1 completed. The model of the CHED-D is provided in retained CIR (EU) 2019/1715 (Annex II, Part 2, Section D)
Please double-check CHED-Ds are fully and accurately completed before submitting. Arranging for amendments to be made is time-consuming and causes delay.
The CHED-D 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-D 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 where applicable. In particular, costs of destruction can be considerable.
Submission of CHED-D and required documents
The CHED-D must be submitted to Port Health at least one working day prior to the arrival of the consignment along with the required documents. Depending on the import conditions, these may include an original health certificate and test reports in some cases. In addition, we also require copies of the commercial documents – bill of lading, invoice and packing list.
Release of consignments
The CHED-D is also used by the BCP to show the outcome of the checks. Part II of the CHED-D 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-D with part II completed is then printed from IPAFFS and signed and stamped by a Port Health Officer.
Legal requirement for completed CHED-D to accompany consignment to delivery address
The original CHED-D is returned to the person responsible for the load. The original CHED-D must be forwarded without delay to the delivery address declared on the CHED-D – see retained CDR (EU) 2019/1602.
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-D. If for any reason the delivery address has to change after the CHED-D is issued, you must notify us so we can make a record of this for traceability purposes.
All CHED-D controlled imports are subjected to a documentary check including an assessment of the CHED-D, health certificate and results of sampling and analysis (where required) and accompanying commercial documentation, which will include bill of lading, invoice and packing list.
Consignments may also be subject to an identity check to verify that the product, labelling and other necessary product and/or package information conform to the declaration on the health certificates and EU legislative requirements.
If your consignment is accompanied by a health certificate and test report, the batch number shown on the health certificate must match the batch number on the test report. The same batch number must also be on all the packages covered by the health certificate. These requirements can be found in retained Commission Implementing Regulation (EU) 2019/1793 – see Articles 9, 10 and 11.
A percentage of consignments must also be physically checked to see that it is fit for its intended purpose. The physical check may include sampling the product to look for pathogenic micro-organisms or illegal contaminants such as pesticide residues, heavy metals, or process contaminants (as specified by the law).
GB law specifies the rates of physical checks on specified products from specified countries.
On satisfactory completion of the checks, consignments may be released for free circulation into the GB internal market.
Products failing to satisfy import conditions may be re-exported to a country outside of GB (conditions apply).
However, 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-export, it must instead be sent for destruction.
All costs for destruction are to be met by the person responsible for the consignment.
Where a notice is served requiring that product is to be re-exported 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. On receipt of a notice, recipients are advised to contact their legal advisers if they wish to appeal against the notice.
Under Article 1(3) of retained CIR 2019/1793 (as amended) personal imports of controlled food and feed imports are permitted provided that the net weight does not exceed 30kg, and the person importing the consignment can prove that it is not intended to be placed on the market but is for their personal consumption or use.
As an importer you are responsible for the cost of checking products. There a standard charges for checks, additional charges, may be added for laboratory examination or analysis if required.
All charges must be paid before the consignment can be released for free circulation.
For details, please refer to our fees section.