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Importing fruit and vegetables, plants and plant produce into the United Kingdom

Alinea Customs provide a guide to phytosanitary controls and plant health.

Some fruit and vegetables imported from the European Union (except the Republic of Ireland) and the rest of the world will need to go through plant health controls. Check which goods are affected.

Importers importing fruit and vegetables into the United Kingdom must check whether a phytosanitary certificate is required, and may also need to register as an importer and pre-notify the plant health authority via the Import of Plant and Animal Food and Feed System (IPAFFS). 

Regulated materials that require pre-notification are:

  • all plants for planting

  • root and tubercle vegetables

  • some common fruits other than fruit preserved by deep freezing

  • some cut flowers

  • some seeds, grains and leafy vegetables other than vegetables preserved by deep freezing

  • potatoes

  • machinery or vehicles which have been operated for agricultural or forestry purposes

Horticultural inspectors are continuing to assess fruit and vegetables travelling in transit from non-EU countries through the EU to the UK to:

  • determine whether an inspection is required at the border

  • make sure that they comply with the UK’s marketing standards


HMI and PHSI may check produce regulated by both marketing standards and plant health regulations in England and Wales. 


SASA carry out inspections on produce in Scotland. HMI and PHSI carry out most quality and labelling (marketing standards) checks at the border. PHSI may check produce at inland plant health facilities.

If you import fruit and vegetables into the UK from a non-EU country and a proportion of your consignment is re-exported to the EU, your consignment needs to undergo both import and export processes.

To import regulated plants and plant products, you must get a phytosanitary certificate for each consignment from the plant health authority in the country where your supplier is.

A phytosanitary certificate is a statement from the plant health authority that the consignment:

  • has been officially inspected

  • complies with legal requirements for entry into Great Britain

  • is free from quarantine pests and diseases

The inspection referred to in the phytosanitary certificate must take place no more than 14 days before the consignment is dispatched from the country where your supplier is.

The phytosanitary certificate must be signed by the inspecting plant health authority within the same 14-day period.

If you need a phytosanitary certificate for your consignment, check that your EU exporter has issued a phytosanitary certificate before it arrives in Great Britain. Make sure you get a scanned copy from your exporter.

You’ll need to upload a copy of the phytosanitary certificate on the relevant import IT system if you need to pre-notify your consignment.


Submit documents after your consignment arrives

Within 3 days of your plant or plant product consignment reaching Great Britain (or as soon as possible) you must post the original phytosanitary certificate to APHA.

For consignments landing at Heathrow or Gatwick send the certificate to:


Animal and Plant Health Agency
1st Floor
Building 4
Heathrow Boulevard
284 Bath Road
West Drayton


For consignments landing anywhere else send the certificate to:


Animal and Plant Health Agency
Foss House
1st Floor
Kings Pool
1-2 Peasholme Green

Register and pre-notify your goods on the relevant import IT system

You must be registered with Government Gateway before you can register with and start using one of the import IT systems to import goods from the EU to Great Britain.

If you already use the PEACH IT system, continue to use, or delegate Alinea Customs to use it on your behalf until you are contacted to switch to IPAFFs.

If you’re importing goods for the first time from 1 January 2022, register to use IPAFFs.

After you’ve completed your registration with the relevant IT system, you’ll be officially registered as a professional operator to import plants and plant products.

If you need help with import notifications, you can call the APHA helpline on 03300 416 999 or email

 Contains public sector information licensed under the Open Government Licence v3.0.

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