Food imported into Europe from Non-EU Countries (third country) is regulated under EU and UK legislation. The responsibility for regulating imports lies with the Food Standards Agency (FSA) and Department of Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (DEFRA).
The Port Health Authority is responsible for enforcing the rules; the controls can be broadly split into those carried out on Products of Animal Origin (POAO) and Food Not of Animal Origin (FNAO).
Products that are known to represent a particular risk may be subject to special controls, have import conditions set, or be banned from import. Public health controls are also applied to ensure that the products intended for food are produced in conditions that satisfy hygiene standards.
Products of Animal Origin:
All consignments of POAO introduced into the European Union (EU) from a third country must be subjected to veterinary checks that are required by Council Directive 97/78/EC (as amended)
POAO form third countries can only be imported into the EU through approved Border Inspection Posts. Examples of POAO include:
Meat and meat products
Hides and Skins
Food Not of Animal Origin:
In accordance with Chapter V, Regulation 882/2004 all Food Not of Animal Origin (FNAO) are subject to official controls. These controls must include a documentary check, an identity check and a physical check where appropriate.
Certain food products, in addition to the general requirements of Regulation 882/2004, also have there own legislative provision, each with its own control. These special conditions include that specific products can only enter the UK through specific ports approved as either Designated Points of Import (DPI), Designated Points of Entry (DPE) or First Point of Introduction (FPI).