Importing products of animal origin

Imported products of animal origin (POAO) and live animals present a high level of risk as they can transmit serious human and animal diseases. 

Imported products of animal origin (POAO) and live animals present a high level of risk as they can transmit serious human and animal diseases. Veterinary border controls assure that consignments of live animals or products of animal origin can only enter into the EU, if they have satisfactorily undergone specific checks.

A range of controls exist for POAO imported from outside the EU to protect both public and animal health.  Examples of animal products imported for human consumption that must be checked include:

  • Meat, including fresh meat, meat products, minced meat, meat preparations, poultry meat, rabbit, farmed game meat and wild game meat
  • Eggs and egg products
  • Milk and milk products
  • Fish and fishery products
  • Honey
  • Gelatine and gelatine products

A full list of POAO can be found at Commission Decision 2007/275/EC.

Each batch or 'consignment' of POAO products must:

  • come from a country approved to export that type of product to the European Union (EU)
  • come from EU-approved premises. The list of establishments approved to export animal products, apart from egg products and honey, can be found on the EU website
  • be accompanied by appropriate certification
  • enter the EU through a Border Control Post (BCP) (all consignments must be pre-notified to the BCP prior to arrival).

Imported POAO must be presented at a designated BCP for veterinary checks to be carried out.  Animal products entering the UK from other EU Member States must have undergone import checks at a BCP where they entered the EU.

The Animal and Plant Health Agency (APHA), an executive agency of the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra), is responsible for imports of products of animal origin.   More information can be found on APHA pages on Animal and Plant Health Agency (APHA). Alternatively, you can email imports@apha.gsi.gov.uk, or telephone 03000 200 301

A list of BCPs in the UK is available here.

Abbreviations and specifications applicable to the categories of animals and goods for which BCPs are designated can be found at Annex II of Commission Implementing Regulation (EU) 2019/1014

Importation of live fish, molluscs and crustaceans

It is a requirement to gain authorisation from the Fish Health Inspectorate (FHI) to import live fish, molluscs and crustaceans for human consumption or immediate processing for human consumption. FHI contact details are:

Fish Health Inspectorate
Marine Scotland

Marine Laboratory

375 Victoria Road

Aberdeen

AB11 9BD

Email: ms.fishhealth@gov.scot

Tel: +44 (0) 01224 295525

More information can be found on the Scottish Government website. Read more.

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