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Importing chocolate into the UK – What you need to know

Although many chocolate products, like Easter eggs, are manufactured domestically, the chocolate used is not. So what do you need to know when importing chocolate into the UK? And will your chocolate imports be affected by the upcoming changes to food checks

You might be surprised to learn that it is not one size fits all when it comes to importing chocolate products, which is why we have prepared this overview for you.

Documents for importing chocolate

When importing chocolate into the UK, you will need all of the standard documents:

– Commercial Invoice
– Packing List
– Movement Certificate (Bill of Lading, CMR, Air Waybill)

However, since you are importing foodstuffs, you will also need to have supporting documents, depending on the type of chocolate goods you are importing.

As standard, you will need to have an ingredient list for any foodstuffs that you are importing so that Port Health can release your goods without further checks. Note that all food-related consignments are flagged for primary checks by Port Health, and that you will need to submit documents even if there are no further checks to be done.

If further checks are required, then it will be because your chocolate goods are classified as Products of Animal Origin (POAO) or as high risk.

Chocolate products as Products of Animal Origin (POAO)

Your chocolate products might be made with butter, milk, or cream, but that does not mean that they are automatically classified as products of animal origin. In fact, the Department for Environment, Food, and Rural Affairs (DEFRA) does not normally consider chocolate products to be of of animal origin.

However, there are instances where importing chocolate products will require processing as POAOs. For example, if your product includes fresh cream, then your shipment will need to pass Port Health checks and you will require the following document:

– Veterinary Health Certificate, relating to the cream or other POAO.

This will need to be accompanied by a pre-notification on the Import of Products, Animals, Food and Feed System (IPAFFS), and the original health certificate will need to be lodged with the local Port Health authority or Border Control Post (BCP). From July, an original health certificate will need to accompany the shipment, too.

High risk chocolate products

Although importing chocolate products do not usually require further investigation, Port Health have scenarios when they will request further information on ingredients from high risk areas or from exporters that have had contamination issues in the past.

For example, if you are importing chocolate biscuits from outside the EU that contain eggs, then you might be asked for the source of the eggs when importing. This is because eggs from certain countries are banned in the UK food market. 

Check with your suppliers before ordering as they might import their ingredients from other countries, and your goods will be returned or destroyed if they are not allowed to enter the UK.

Do you need advice on importing chocolate into the UK?

UKCS and the rest of the Customs Support Group are here to help you. 

As providers of end-to-end 
customs clearance services throughout the UK and EU, we work with food importers and exporters in most countries, ensuring that paperwork is completed in a timely, compliant manner.

If you’re looking at importing chocolate products into the UK, 
contact us for more information on how we can help you.

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