Import of food

Importing food is when you buy food from countries outside the EU for sale on the EU market. There are many rules that you have to be aware of before you start to import food. This web page provides you with an overview of all regulations on food imports.

The rules for importing food into the EU are determined by EU legislation. All EU member states are governed by the same legislation. The EFTA countries Norway, Iceland, Switzerland and Lichtenstein are not members of the EU, but follow the same rules as the member states.

If you buy food from other EU member states or from the EFTA countries, it is not an import and other regulations apply.

The type of food and its origin are important when it comes to imports. Different types of food have to go through border control to different extents, and require different types of certificates. The foods that are significant from an import point of view are divided into the following groups: 

  • Products of animal origin: food products made from meat, fish, milk, eggs, honey, etc.
  • Products of non-animal origin: food products derived from plants
  • Composite products: food products consisting of both plant ingredients and processed animal ingredients
  • Organic food products
  • Dietary supplements with animal ingredients

Different types of food are governed by different types of legislation. It is important that you know which country your product comes from and what type of food you will be importing. You will find links to information about specific types of food at the end of this page.

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Responsible authorities

Different authorities share the responsibility for ensuring that regulations are followed:

  • Swedish Food Agency: Responsible for commercial imports of products of animal origin from non-EU countries and for certain products of non-animal origin from certain countries outside the EU. The Swedish Food Agency leads and coordinates food inspection in Sweden.
  • Swedish Board of Agriculture: Responsible for products of animal origin for private consumption as well as responsible for and coordinator of plant protection control.
  • Swedish Customs: Assists the other authorities at the border.

Assistance with import regulation

There are companies that specialise in food imports. Search online for “customs agent and import”, in Swedish “tullombud och import”, to find examples of these companies.

Reviewed 2023-09-13