Shipping Food Products? Need an Export Licence?
A Company contacted us recently to see if we could help. They had shipped a container of food products to the Middle East via another company. The items were destined for a shop selling products to the local ex pat community.
Sealed cans of dog and cat food were a part of the shipment and after the ship had sailed, with the container of food stuffs, the UK supplier sending the products found out that to get the products to the customer in the country concerned, they should have had an export licence.
We spoke with our contacts at DEFRA, but sadly, even though the Company could prove that they were well known brands of pet food, there was nothing DEFRA or we could do to help. There was no way around it, to ship the meat products, the meat products should have been physically inspected by a vet, who would then have been able to arrange the export licence.
Sadly for the company concerned the outcome was not good. Either the goods would have to be shipped back to the UK, offloaded, inspected and a licence granted, or the shipment would have to be destroyed. Either way a very costly mistake for this Company.
Your freight forwarder will always try to ensure that they give as much information and support as possible when shipping goods, but remember the only person responsible and ultimately accountable for ensuring that the correct licences are in place is you, so make sure that you do your research and have a good relationship with your customer/contact at the receiving end.
More information about licences and importing licence able goods to the UK can be found here: https://www.go.uk/bringing-food-animals-plants-into-uk/food
IF you are exporting products from the UK to a non EU country, contact the authority in the destination country, or their foreign embassy in the UK to check whether there are any specific restrictions.
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