EU Food Imports: A Short Guide for Exporters and Importers

The European Union understands that trading with importers will bring growth to the region, as well as spur more jobs for European workers. When importing food in the EU, it is important that you know about the European Union import regulations about specific foods, as well as the general rules and regulations about additives and labelling. When you don’t comply with the rules, could lead to delays and legal action from the enforcement authorities.

By understanding the EU import regulations on food, exporters and importers can succeed in their business. This short will provide some answers on topics that will help importers comply with EU rules and regulations.

EU Food Imports Statistics

In 2016 alone, the EU imported around 93 million tons of food that is worth €101 billion. On the other hand, European member countries exported 91 million tons of food that are worth €84 billion.

The largest exporter of food to countries outside the European Union is the Netherlands. The country exported €13 billion worth of food, which is 16 per cent of the total food exports of the EU. The main destination of EU food exports is the United States. US Food Importers sent a total of €8 billion worth of food to the US in 2016.

When it comes to importers into the European Union, Brazil tops the list with 9 per cent of the total food imports. It is followed by the United States with 7 per cent and Norway with 7 per cent. Fruits and vegetables comprised 30 per cent of the total food imports into the EU.

Customs and Tariffs

The European Union is a Customs Union. That means all member states apply the same tariff on goods imported outside the European Union. It doesn’t matter where the food products were declared, the same European Union import regulations apply. Once the goods have cleared customs; importers can sell them freely anywhere within the EU territory.

Food Safety and Other Regulations

Food imported into the European Union needs to comply with sanitary and phytosanitary regulations that protect human, plant, and animal health. The EU food safety regulations control the production, labelling, and monitoring of the products throughout the supply chain. The European Food Safety Agency provides guidelines to importers regarding food safety concerns.

Because of EU’s single market for products, imported goods can be sold anywhere in the European Union as long as it already passed through customs. It is important to note that consumer products sold to consumers in the EU must comply with requirements of the General Product Directive that requires manufacturers to sell only safe products on the EU market.

Food products marketed as organic must also comply with the organic product legislation concerning their production and labelling. Labels should be visible on the packaging and refer to the certification control body.

As you can see, all member states follow the same European Union import regulations. If you are looking for wholesalers or importers in the EU, join Nutrada. Our food exporters database is updated on a daily basis and includes hundreds of certified suppliers and buyers.