Brexit customs update: Navigating changes in food and drink import measures  in the UK
25 January 2024

Brexit customs update: Navigating changes in food and drink import measures in the UK

On January 31, 2024, significant changes to Sanitary and Phytosanitary (SPS) measures will come into effect, impacting the importation of various goods from the European Union to the UK. These changes aim to enhance the protection of human, animal, and plant health, ensuring that imported products meet stringent safety standards. Businesses involved in international trade must understand and prepare for these changes to avoid disruptions at the border.


Key Changes on January 31, 2024


Health Certification for Medium-Risk Imports:

Animal Products: Medium-risk animal products imported from the EU will require health certification.

Plants and Plant Products: Medium-risk plants and plant products from the EU will also require health certification.


Health Certification for High-Risk Food and Feed of Non-Animal Origin:

High-risk food and feed of non-animal origin imported from the EU will now require health certification to ensure compliance with SPS measures.


Removal of Pre-Notification Requirements for Low-Risk Plant and Plant Products:

Pre-notification requirements for low-risk plant and plant products from the EU will be eliminated, streamlining the import process for these goods.



3 Things to Help You Prepare for the Changes


Know Your Risk Category:

Utilise online tools provided by authorities to determine the risk category of your commodity, ensuring you are aware of the specific requirements applicable to your needs.

Ensure EU Supply Chain Preparedness:

Collaborate with your supply chain partners to ensure they can provide your business with necessary health and phytosanitary certificates. Stay informed about the requirements and collaborate closely with your suppliers.

Submit Pre-Notification in IPAFFS:

Familiarise yourself with the Import of Products, Animals, Food and Feed System (IPAFFS) and be prepared to submit pre-notifications to facilitate smooth customs clearance correctly.


Controls and Indicative Checks Based on Risk Categorisation

Controls and indicative checks for goods will be proportionate to their risk category. The implementation of SPS checks will be carried out in two phases, with the first phase beginning on January 31, 2024. The table below outlines the controls and indicative checks for each risk category.


The rate of checks under the Border Operating Model, compared to the current EU regime, is presented in the following table:


As the changes to SPS measures take effect on January 31, 2024, it is imperative for businesses engaged in international trade to stay informed and compliant. Utilise online tools to determine the risk category of your imports, collaborate with your supply chain for required certificates, and be prepared to submit pre-notifications accurately. By proactively addressing these changes, businesses can navigate the evolving regulatory landscape and maintain a smooth flow of goods across borders.


For additional guidance and support, refer to the provided resources:

Risk Categories Lookup Tool

Government Guidance on Import Risk Categories