Export health certificates and importing food

Importing food

Food businesses mustt make sure that all foods imported into the UK are done so legally and compliant with UK food law.

If you are importing food into the UK:

  1. Check import requirements: There are strict regulations on importing food into the UK. The requirements vary depending on the type of food (like low or high risk, product of animal origin, composite product). For more information visit the Food Standards Agency website. Any food products which are found to have been imported illegally will be seized and destroyed by council officers. The council will also seek to recover the costs for disposal of the food and may consider further legal action such as prosecution.
  2. Labeling: All food sold in the UK market must comply fully with UK food labelling requirements (such as labelled in English, highlighted allergen information). For advice on labelling, see the food labelling section of our website.
  3. Traceability: You must be able to trace both who supplied your food and who you supplied your food to. There should be a documented system in place including invoices and receipts.
  4. Recall procedures: In the event that there is an issue with a product you have sold, you may need to issue a food product recall. You must have a documented recall procedure in place. For further guidance visit the Food Standards Agency guidance document on product withdrawal and recall.

Read the guidance and advice on traceability and recalls 

Exporting food

If you are looking to export food out of the UK, you may need an Export Health Certificate (EHC) depending on the type of food. EHCs certify that the producer or exporter complies with all relevant legislation and the food is produced and handled in a hygienic environment. Various countries, including countries within the EU, need an EHC for many UK food and drink exports.

The following food types need an Export Health Certificate:

  • meat
  • dairy
  • fish
  • eggs

Other non-EU countries may need Export Health Certificates or Attestations for other foods depending on the destination countries' entry requirements. It is the responsibility of the exporter to make sure they have applied for the necessary Export Health Certificate. To find out if you need an export health certificate you will need to contact the destination port authority or find a health certificate on the UK government website.

Further information

How to apply for a Health Certificate with Ealing Council

For an application to be valid, you must complete all sections of the application form correctly and make a payment of £117.50. You will also need to send your packing list and invoice with the completed request form. We can only accept payment by card over the phone. Where this is not possible, by cheque made payable to the London Borough of Ealing.

To apply for an Export Health Certificate, please complete this food export health certificate request form.

Please email the completed form and supporting documents to: foodsafety@ealing.gov.uk

To pay or ask a question, please telephone: 020 8825 6666.

More information for applicants

  • we will always try to incorporate the wording indicated on your form, but we cannot include wording that implies that we guarantee the safety of any individual consignment of food. Wording will normally reflect the fact that your foodstuffs are produced and stored in premises subject to our jurisdiction as a food authority, and which have been subject to a satisfactory inspection programme
  • we reserve the right to decline to issue a certificate if we are dissatisfied with hygiene standards and practices conducted in your premises
  • we cannot certify an individual manufacturing process, but you can provide additional supporting material such as HACCP documentation and test certificates to assist the application process
  • if you have not received a food hygiene inspection within the requisite due date (according to our database), then an inspection will have to be arranged as a matter of urgency in order that we can issue a certificate. We make every effort to conduct our inspections according to the due date
  • the application and consultation process will generally take up to five working days. You will receive your certificate through the post unless you ask to collect it from the council
  • if you have any difficulties with the document requirements of importing countries, contact the Food Standards Agency for assistance