Home UK Rules Health Food Safety Labelling and Handling › International Transportation
Transporting Food Regulations UK Guidance

This guide explains basic food regulations for international transportation from the United Kingdom. Transporters must comply with import and export rules when labelling and handling food for international transport.

SHIPPING FOOD: UK shippers will have a range of regulations to follow in the destination country.

Moving Food within the European Union

As a rule, there will be no customs checks for food moved to a country in the European Union (EU).

Even so, the goods will need to follow EU regulations on food labelling and packaging.

The products must also meet food safety and hygiene rules to sell them in the United Kingdom and in other EU countries.

Note: We are waiting to get the full and final outcome of the ‘Brexit deal’ before updating this information.

Imports from Outside the European Union

You must comply with all EU regulations on food labelling, packaging, and safety. Failing to do so means the UK customs can seize and destroy the products. They can also charge a fee for destroying the goods.

Special rules apply for the importation of animal food products (e.g. eggs, meat). Importers can only import these types of goods from ‘EU-approved’ countries.

Note: HMRC ‘Trade Tariff’ allows you to look up commodity codes, duty, and VAT rates. You will need to get the right classification of goods to perform the search.

Exports Outside the European Union

Outside of the EU, you would need to follow food safety, packaging, and any other regulations of the destination country you are exporting to. You can use the Trade Tariff to check for any specific export restrictions.

Many companies who are importing food use freight forwarders to carry out the shipments on their behalf. They specialise in overseeing the worldwide movement of cargo, packing, documentation and customs clearance.

Note: Using a freight forwarding company to move goods is an easier way to ship food out of United Kingdom. They would handle all customs procedures for the international transportation of food products.


Food, Catering, and Retail | List of statutory laws governing food safety and hygiene in United Kingdom.

What Must Show on Food Labelling | A list of mandatory food labelling requirements according to UK law.

UK Guide on Labelling and Handling Food for International Transportation