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Imported food control

Border Control checks

Official controls are in place under UK law to make sure imported products meet European Union (EU) standards for animal and public health.

The Border Control Post (BCP) at Grimsby and Immingham is owned and operated by Associated British Ports which presents consignments there on behalf of the importer, or person responsible for the load, for North East Lincolnshire Council Port Health Authority to examine. The BCP is approved to handle frozen products of animal origin for human consumption.

Port Health follow a 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. 

The BCP is approved by the Department for Environment, Food & Rural Affairs (DEFRA) and the EU and regularly audited by the Animal and Plant Health Agency (APHA) to ensure standards are maintained.

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. 

Common Health Entry Documentation (CHED)

This document is used by the person responsible for the load as notification of the import and by the BCP to show the outcome of the checks. The CHED-P is established in Regulation (EU) 2019/1715 .

After the checks are finished, the CHED-P is completed by the Official Veterinary Surgeon (OVS) or fish inspector. The original CHED-P will be returned to the importer/agent and must, in the case of imports, travel with the load to the first establishment after customs clearance where it must be retained for 1 year.

The CHED-P is generated and submitted to Port Health using the TRACES system  or IPAFFS when introduced.

Products of animal origin

Products of Animal Origin (POAO) can only enter the EU through a designated port with a BCP.  Grimsby and Immingham BCP is approved to handle frozen fishery products for human consumption. The role of Grimsby and Immingham BCP is:

  • the examination and controlled release into the EU of products of animal origin and other food stuffs.
  • the detention, destruction, re-exportation or other treatment of unsatisfactory products of animal origin and other food stuffs.
  • the processing of import and movement documents associated with products of animal origin and specified high risk foods.
  • sampling of foodstuffs for analysis by the Public Analyst and/or HPA laboratory.

Imported feed control

All imported FEED queries need to be directed to our Trading Standards department.

Any product that is being imported with the intended use of animal feed will be dealt with by our Trading Standards department who hold responsibility for animal feed.

What checks are undertaken at the BCP?

The checks undertaken at the BCP are:

  1. Documentary Check – All POAO imports are subjected to a documentary check – an assessment of the CHED-P, public and or animal health certificates and accompanying commercial documentation, which may include bill of lading, invoice and packing list.
  2. Identity Check –Consignments are also subject to an identity check which involves verification that the product, identification marks, stamps and other necessary product and or package information conform to the declaration on the health certificates and EU legislation.
  3. Physical Check – 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 veterinary drugs residues or heavy metals.

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.  There may be certain circumstances where consignments may be subject to compulsory sampling if there is a known health risk.

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 veterinary checks at the BCP, consignments may be released for free circulation into the Community.  Consignments may also be released for purposes other than human consumption or removal under customs control.

Unsatisfactory checks

Products failing to satisfy import conditions may be re-exported to a country outside the European Economic Area (EEA). 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-dispatch, it must instead be sent for destruction by incineration. 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 the 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.

You can find further general guidance from the European Commission website .

Alternatively, please contact Grimsby and Immingham Port Health team at [email protected].

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.

Port Health charges

Imported food control booking system

Grimsby and Immingham Port Health Service operate an online booking system for imported food exams at the BCP.

For bookings contact us at [email protected].

Imported food control examination payment system

Grimsby and Immingham Port Health service operate a payment in advance mechanism for examination of all consignments at the BCP via the Port Health Interactive Live Information System (PHILIS). Importers are required to create an account with us and deposit sufficient funds prior to any examinations being undertaken.

Please contact us on our New agent/importer set up form if you require an account to be created.

Related websites

DEFRA – Animal Health – Imports

Food Standards Agency – Imports

Designated point of entry (DPE) – Regulation 669/2009 (as amended)

Designated point of import (DPI) – Regulation 1152/2009 (as amended)

Contact details

Grimsby and Immingham Port Health, Port Health Offices, Fish Dock Road, Grimsby, North East Lincolnshire, DN31 3NN

Email: [email protected]

Telephone: 01472 326299

Opening times: By appointment only