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Most common BTOM SPS errors according to DEFRA

Updated: Mar 5

The Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (DEFRA) have released a list of the most common errors seen since new imports regulations were introduced for EU SPS imports last month.


January 31st saw the implementation of new import regulations as part of the government’s Border Target Operating Model (BTOM). Under the BTOM, high and medium-risk animal products, plants and plant products and high-risk food and feed of non-animal from EU and EFTA countries now require pre-notification on the IPAFFS (Import of Products, Animals, Food and Feed) system and must be accompanied by an export health certificate (EHC).


Though routine documentary, identity, and physical checks on medium and high risk SPS goods are not due to be implemented under the BTOM until 30th April 2024, sample documentary checks have been conducted on a number of SPS shipments to date. DEFRA have published a list of the most common errors witnessed during these sample checks to help importers of EU SPS goods comply with their new responsibilities.


Common errors identified include low risk SPS consignments without accompanying commercial documents. Though low risk SPS goods imported from the EU do not require an export health certificate (EHC), they must still be accompanied by suitable commercial documentation from the EU supplier outlining the information listed here.


Documentary checks have also revealed that some importers have attached multiple export health certificates pertaining to multiple products to a single pre-notification on the IPAFFS system. DEFRA confirm that mixed loads containing multiple medium risk goods should have multiple import notifications.


The full list of SPS BTOM errors and solutions noted by DEFRA can be found here.


For further information on the BTOM, product risk categories and the new requirements for SPS importers, see our free guide.


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