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Spain Food Imports: A Short Guide for Exporters and Importers

Spain Food Imports: A Short Guide for Exporters and Importers

Spain is the world’s 17th largest exporter and the 15th largest importer. It has been a member of the EU since 1986. In 2016, the country's total imports were about US$309.6. The country’s major business hubs are Barcelona and Madrid. You will find a highly developed distribution system made up of wholesalers to small retail shops that sell goods to the final consumer.

Products entering the country must be in Spanish. Besides, any paperwork you sign with the importer should be in the local language. Usually, it is challenging to penetrate the market without a local representative and close personal connections. The distributor or importer will advise you on the labeling requirements, import duties, and hygiene requirements.   

What Food Does Spain Import?
In 2016, Spain imported fruits and nuts worth about $2.9 billion, vegetable and fruit preparations ($1.2 billion), vegetable products ($34.8 million), and animal/vegetable oils ($2.6 billion).  The following is a list of some of the food products imported by Spain: 

  • Walnuts
  • Almonds
  • Fish Fillets
  • Pistachios
  • Distilled Spirits
  • Pulses
  • Other Fish Meat (minced, fresh, chilled, or frozen)
  • Dairy products (butter, powder, and yogurts)

Spain Food Law
Spain is an EU member, and much of its food laws are subject to EU directives, obligations, and regulations. Although the members have to comply with the requirements, you will find the codes transposed into the National Law. You will find all the laws under Spain’s Food Safety and Nutrition law. The law defines the procedures, health rules, inspection procedures, and seizure of food.

There are several authorities for controlling the food chain because of the decentralized nature of the market. However, the Government provides oversight. They are two major authorities. The Ministry of Health, Social Services and Gender Equality (MSSSI) are what directs the importation of food. Under MSSSI is the Spanish Consumption, Food Safety and Nutrition Agency, which bears the responsibility of food safety. The second major organization is the Ministry of Agriculture, Food, Fisheries, and Environment or (MAPAMA), which approves the importation of biological materials.

Spanish food hygiene law draws from EU food hygiene and traceability laws. The law covers all controls applicable as the food moves from the production facilities to the final consumer. Generally, the law stipulates that producers should follow HACCP principles. You can get detailed guidance on the laws on this external link:

Bringing Food into Spain
Before bringing food in Spain by sea or air cargo, importers must have the following documents: Commercial invoice, import certificate, phytosanitary certificate, and bill of landing or airway bill. At the inspection post, several checks occur such as the document, identity, and physical checks. The importer has to pay the import duties and VAT which is usually 21 percent. For detailed rules, consult the EU import rules on this external link: 

Nutrada: Spain Food Importers Directory
Nutrada is an innovative way to link up with local distributors and other whole Spain food importers.  Unlike other platforms, our algorithm finds buyers automatically. Just have a quick chat with our smart Chatbox.
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