Controls are essential to protect British livestock and agriculture from pests and diseases and stop illegal imported food being sold to the public.
There are two situations where foods are imported:
Rules mean that if you travel to most countries outside the EU it is illegal to bring meat and milk based products for your personal use back into the UK. There are also limits on bringing back fish, shellfish, honey, eggs some fruit and vegetables. There are some items that are banned completely.
If you try and bring food items into the UK that are banned or in greater amounts than allowed the whole amount will be seized and destroyed.
The Government has put in place controls to ensure imported food products do not present unacceptable risks. There are different controls for products imported from EU countries and products imported from countries imported from outside the EU, there are also different controls for products of Animal Origin and products not of Animal Origin such as milk, meat, honey and eggs.
If you wish to import food from another EU country the food must be from an approved establishment and must be accompanied by approved documentation, if the products are from outside the EU they must be from an Approved establishment in an Approved country and have the appropriate documentation.
For more information and to find out what current import conditions are contact the imports branch of Defra on 020 7904 6508 / or email the iah and see Defra Website and the Food Standards Agency website. You can also view a list of approved Establishments in third countries.