Sanitary & Phytosanitary

If you are involved in the Food and Agri Business Sector, and you import/export food products outside of the EU (including the UK), it is imperative that you understand the requirements for importing/exporting food and the Sanitary & Phytosanitary (SPS) requirements to avoid unnecessary delays at the ports.

This has become particularly important since 1 January 2021, as these rules now apply to Great Britain (GB) imports. These requirements are in addition to current customs formalities; but are very much inter-linked.


What are the food import/export requirements?

The EU has very strict controls on the import of animals and agri-related products. The nature of the requirements will, however, depend on the type of food being imported/exported. Certain foods are deemed to present a higher risk and will require more stringent controls. These controls can consist of a documentary check, an identity or a physical check or any combination of these checks. 

Some exports will also require an export health certificate or a phytosanitary certificate. 

We are also advising exporters to review the key issues which caused delays on imports to the EU in 2021 post Brexit. Understanding these issues will ensure that you are prepared for exporting to GB. Click here to learn more. 


What are the food export requirements to GB?

Since 1 January 2021, SPS measures have been required when exporting live animals, germinal products, high risk ABP and high priority plants and plant products to GB from Ireland.  

Such consignments require:

  • An Export Health Certificate/Phytosanitary Certificate, as appropriate
  • The GB based importer to complete the import pre-notification on IPAFFS/ PEACHES system
  • Identity and physical inspections at the place of destination in GB. 

Further SPS import controls were due to be introduced in GB on exports from the EU on a phased approach from 1 July 2022. 

On the 28 April, the UK Government announced that there would be no further import controls on EU goods imported to GB in 2022. UK Government announced that businesses can stop their preparations for 2022 and they will publish a Target Operating Model in Autumn 2022 which will detail the new border import controls and anticipate that the controls regime will be introduced by the end of 2023. The UK will now focus on technology and options to digitise its border.

This is great news for Irish exporters and provides additional time to prepare in particular for full GB import controls. Goods moving from the EU to GB can continue to do so on the basis of the arrangements that currently apply. Requirements which were introduced in January 2021 when exporting live animals, germinal products, high risk ABP and high priority plants and plant products to Great Britain from the EU remain in place. 


How can BDO help?

BDO have a dedicated team of Food, Drink & Agri-business specialists who are available to assist you with the following: 

  • Understanding your product and determining the import/export requirements. 
  • Assist you in completing the necessary registration requirements with the Competent Authorities.
  • Ensuring you have obtained the necessary system information technology access to meet the import/export requirements.
  • Provide training on the completion of a Common Health Entry Document, Private Attestation, and the necessary pre-notification requirements.
  • Assist you in understanding the food import codes and ensuring these are inserted in your import declaration. 
  • Advise you on document retention requirements. 

It is important that you understand the requirements for the type of food product you are importing/exporting and that all necessary documentation is completed on time and provided to the necessary party. 



Carol Lynch

Tax Partner & Head of Customs and International Trade Services, BDO Dublin
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