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Import Controls

Sanitary and phytosanitary (SPS) control inspections are required at the EU/Third Country borders under EU law for the protection of animal health, plant health and food safety. Such controls (referred to as Official Controls) apply to live animals, plants, and products of animal or plant origin entering the Single Market and will have to be carried out on all agri-food products coming from Great Britain after the transition period or its extension (if availed of). Unlike certain customs arrangements, SPS controls will have to be carried out at ports and airports that are designated as Border Control Posts (BCPs) (Border Inspection Posts will be referred to as Border Control Posts after introduction of new legislation in December 2019).

Businesses can continue to import agri products from the UK under existing arrangements up to the end of the transition period (or its extension). However, after that date businesses in the UK exporting products of animal origin must be approved by the EU before Irish businesses can continue importing from them. In respect of plant and plant products, the product will have to be approved for importation.

Yes, at the end of the transition period, most agri food products will be subject to both a Customs and an SPS check - while some of the checks may be carried out electronically, there will be physical checks on a significant proportion of products.

DAFM will carry out EU SPS controls in respect of plants, live animals (including hatching eggs), and products of plant and animal origin.  The Health Service Executive (HSE) will conduct SPS checks in respect of certain composite products and products of plant origin for human consumption.

All agri food products imported into the EU from a third country will need to undergo some form of SPS check before they can be allowed into the country.

All such goods require a documentary check and an identity check. This involves checking the accuracy of the documents and either a seal-check, or a more intensive visual inspection to verify that the products are as stated.

A proportion of those goods, and all live animals, will require a physical inspection. The level of physical checks ranges from 1-10% (e.g. non-food dairy products) to 50% (poultry meat) to 100% (live animals), depending on product type.

All agri-food products imported from a third country must be processed through a BCP. These BCPs are approved to process different products. The following ports and airports are currently approved to process the following products

  • Dublin Port: Packed products of animal origin intended for human consumption, products of animal origin not intended for human consumption, forestry products;
  • Dublin Airport: Horses and forestry products;
  • Dublin Port and Dublin Airport: Plants and plant products regulated under Plant Health Directive 2000/29 EC, imported to Ireland from third countries and subject to plant health import controls by the National Plant Protection Organisation of Ireland.
  • Cork Port: Containerised and bulk shipments of forestry products;
  • Shannon Airport: Packed products of animal origin intended for human consumption, packed products of animal origin not intended for human consumption, and horses;
  • Killybegs: Direct landings of fresh fish, unprocessed logs, and sawn/chipped wood; and
  • Castletownbere: Direct landings of fresh fish.

In addition, a variety of ports are capable of inspecting unprocessed logs as well as sawn/chipped wood and these include Greenore, Dundalk, Drogheda, Wicklow, Arklow, New Ross, Waterford, Youghal, Foynes, Limerick, Galway, and Sligo. 

DAFM is planning to develop additional BCPs and upgrade existing BCPs in order to cater for the level of trade in agri-food products from Great Britain.

As a rule agri-food importers should discuss any potential changes to their supply chains with their logistics partners as soon as possible.

Export Certification

There could be significant certification requirements in respect of exports of agri-food products to the UK post-Brexit.  While the UK have indicated that it does not intend to impose export certification requirements, it will require pre-notification of products of animal origin, although it is not clear at this juncture what pre-notification will be required at some stage in the future.

DAFM is taking a prudent approach by assuming that certification will be required, and has estimated the staffing and IT resources that may be needed to meet any requirements.

Products of animal origin



Live animals

  • There will minimal changes in the import control requirements for live animals and hatching eggs coming from the UK from those that already exist, with the exception of horses, where health certificates may now be required.
  • Such animals and eggs are currently accompanied by a veterinary certificate that conforms to the template laid down in that legislation and this will continue to be the only SPS requirement for live animals and hatching eggs.
  • Queries in relation to a specific product should be directed, in the first instance, to the expected point of entry of the consignment – see ‌ for contact details; Approved Border Control Posts (BCPs) (pdf 68Kb) 
  • In order to avoid delays and expedite decisions, all relevant information and copies of the necessary certificates or documents must be provided with the query.
  • Additional details available at Requirements for the import of live animals and hatching eggs from the UK post Brexit (pdf 218Kb) 



Plant Health

  • European Union Council Directive 2000/29/EC sets out the protective measures against the introduction into the Community of organisms harmful to plant or plant products and against their spread within the Community.
  • Importers of certain plants and plant products from the UK will be required to be registered with the Horticulture and Plant Health Division of DAFM and to follow the steps necessary to allow these consignments and their accompanying documents to be inspected as required.
  • Additional details available at Requirements for the import of plants and plant produce from the UK post Brexit (pdf 299Kb) 



Timber and timber products

Q. What controls will apply to imports of timber and timber products from Great Britain?

(Post Brexit, imports of timber and timber products from the UK will be governed by three distinct regulatory regimes (covered by four principle bodies of EU law))


1.Council Directive 1999/105/EC on the marketing of forest reproductive material governs the marketing of seeds, plants and cuttings that are important for forestry purposes.

  • The aim of this legislation is to ensure that marketed forest reproductive material is from approved suitable sources and is clearly labelled and identified throughout the entire process from tree seed collection to processing, storage, forest nursery production and delivery to the final forest user.
  • Importers of such products are required to be registered with DAFM and to follow the steps necessary, including pre-notification of imports and provision of documentation, to allow these consignments and their accompanying documents to be inspected as required.
  • Additional details available at Requirements for the import of forestry plants and plant products including wood and wood products to Ireland from the United Kingdom post Brexit (pdf 224Kb) 


Contact: or


2.Wood packaging material standards. International Standard (ISPM 15) aims to prevent the international transport and spread of disease and insects that could negatively affect plants or ecosystems

  • Wood Packaging Material (WPM) including pallets, crates and dunnage used in the transport of goods moving from the UK to Ireland will need to be ISPM15 compliant. The WPM associated with these products may be subject to official checks either upon entry to the EU (including Ireland) or after entry.




3.EU Timber Regulation EU) No 995/2010. The Regulation stipulates:

  • That any person or legal entity that imports timber or timber products covered by this Regulation, and subsequently places them on the EU market for the first time, will be determined to be an ‘Operator’;
  • That an Operator is prohibited from placing illegally harvested timber or timber products derived from such timber on the market; and
  • That an Operator is required to have a Due Diligence System in place and must exercise due diligence when placing timber or timber products on the EU market. The Due Diligence System used by the Operator must be maintained and regularly evaluated.
  • Additional details available at Requirements for the import of timber and/or timber products covered by the EU Timber Regulation to and from Ireland and the UK post-Brexit (pdf 212Kb) 


Contact details:

Fishery Products, including direct landings

Annex I to Commission Decision 2007/275/EC (as amended) outlines the scope of seafood products imported from Third Countries that require veterinary checks


Contact: and

Direct landings only