What we do

We check imports of food, feed and specified food contact materials coming into the UK via Portsmouth. We also monitor the control of infectious diseases on board vessels that dock in Portsmouth.

We operate two designated Border Control Posts:

We are part of the wider Regulatory Services team.

African swine fever

Because of outbreaks of African swine fever, non-commercial imports of pork may be subject to checks by Port Health Officers, in conjunction with Border Force.

If you are bringing in pork or pork products over 2kgs from the EU, it must be:

  • commercially packaged with an EU identification mark; or,
  • stamped with a health mark if it is a carcass.

The marks will be an oval containing a two-letter country code, an approval number and the letters ‘EC’ for European Community (or their equivalents in other EU languages).

If you’re bringing in animal by-products they must be commercially packaged with the name and address of the feed business operator or have an animal by-product commercial document.

Find out more: Bringing food into Great Britain: Meat, dairy, fish and animal products – GOV.UK

Maritime Declaration of Health (MDH)

We work in conjunction with KHM Portsmouth and Portsmouth International Port to monitor any suspected disease or death on board any vessel entering Portsmouth waters.

In any case of suspected infectious disease or death on board any vessel, the masters of ships arriving from foreign ports must:

Illegal, Unreported and Unregulated Fishing (IUU) Catch Certificates

Pre-notification time: at least 2 hours before anticipated arrival, otherwise a late fee may apply.

Prenotification need to be made via IPAFFS.

Download a Multiple Catch Certificate Summary Document, if required. Please complete your sections and upload this when you submit your request if you have multiple Catch Certificates.

Our guide Illegal, Unreported and Unregulated Fishing (IUU) Catch Certificates: Information for importers provides more detailed advice on the requirements, including what information to supply to us.

If we are provided with unsatisfactory documentation, we will usually allow the agent/importer a grace period of 72 hours to provide the information, after which we may charge a fee. See our guide and the fees section for more information.

Product of Animal Origin (POAO) & High Risk Food and Feed of Non-Animal Origin (HRFNAO)

Pre-notification times:

  • Portico (by container ship): at least 24 hours before the vessel arrives.
  • PIP (by RO-RO ferry): at least 6 hours before the vessel arrives. This derogation applies to all imports. Customers don’t need to contact us for individual derogation.

Late notifications may be subject to a late fee. Pre-notify us via IPAFFS.

POAO can only enter via the Portsmouth International Port BCP (GBPTM14).

Further information:

Organic products

Pre-notification times:

  • Portico (by container ship): at least 24 hours before the vessel arrives.
  • PIP (by RO-RO ferry): at least 6 hours before the vessel arrives.

Late notifications may be subject to a late fee.

Pre-notify us using our online form. There must be a Certificate of Inspection (COI) and accompanying documentation with each shipment.

Organic products which have transited the EU and are arriving via Portsmouth International Port are subject to inspection. Organic products originating from the EU, or cleared in the EU, do not currently need to be notified to us.

Further information: Importing and exporting organic food – GOV.UK

Plastic kitchenware originating from China and Hong Kong

Pre-notification time: at least two working days in advance of the expected arrival, otherwise a late fee may apply.

A declaration document and supporting evidence must be provided for every consignment of polyamide and melamine plastic kitchenware originating in or consigned from the People’s Republic of China and Hong Kong Special Administrative Region, China. If the product has been cleared for entry into the EU, a declaration need not be provided. Samples may be taken by a Port Health Officer.

Guidance: Importing plastic kitchenware from China and Hong Kong – Food Standards Agency

Shellfish classification

We undertake the official control monitoring for the shellfish production areas in Portsmouth, which are Portsmouth Harbour and Langstone Harbour. We also monitor classified production areas for marine biotoxins, phytoplankton and chemical contamination.

Live Bivalve Molluscs (LBMs) include:

  • oysters (pacific and native)
  • mussels
  • clams
  • cockles
  • scallops

As filter feeders, LBMs are susceptible to picking up and accumulating toxins, chemical or bacteriological contaminants from their environment.

To reduce the risk of contamination, commercial harvesting of can only be undertaken from classified production areas.

Classification of production areas

The sampling information is used by the Food Standards Agency (FSA) to determine the classification of the production area. The areas are species specific. See the section “Current classification list and sampling plans” on the FSA’s website for further information: Shellfish classification | Food Standards Agency

For maps of the areas, see: Classification zone maps – Cefas (Centre for Environment, Fisheries and Aquaculture Science)

Registration document

Each batch or consignment of LBMs or live shellfish being removed from a designated shellfish production area must, by law, be accompanied by a registration document.

Registration documents are available free of charge on request. Contact us to request.

Ship sanitation certificates and water sampling

Portsmouth Port Health Authority is authorised to issue ship sanitation certificates. A certificate (or extension) will only be granted after an inspection of the vessel.

We will ask to see several documents, including the following (which should be provided in advance, where possible):

  • Most recent ship sanitation certificate and any attachments
  • Most recent water sample results
  • Master handover log
  • Medicine and narcotics list (with expiry dates)
  • Food safety management system
  • Cook’s food hygiene training certificate
  • Medical log
  • Garbage log
  • Ballast management plan
  • Waste management plan
  • Discharge book
  • Tank cleaning record
  • UV changing record

The inspection is conducted under the International Health Regulations 2005 and cross-referencing the WHO Handbook and Guide. In certain circumstances domestic food legislation applies on board passenger vessels.

Port Health Officers can obtain samples of drinking water and ice. It is recommended potable water is tested every six months, from three different points on board, plus water fountains.

Legionella sampling can be undertaken, which will detect levels of Legionella at the point the sample is taken. A full survey of the vessel is required to provide assurances of its Legionella status.

Analysis is UKAS Accredited. You will be provided with a certificate of the results. Please see the fees section for tests and associated charges.


New customers should complete our online form to enable us to add you to our finance system. Please note that we do not use PHILIS.

Our fees are subject to review.

Contact us

Portsmouth Port Health Authority
Border Control Post
Portsmouth International Port
Mile End Road

We operate:

  • Monday-Friday from 6am to midnight
  • Saturday-Sunday from 6am to 2.30pm and from 3.30pm to midnight