IPAFFS: The Essential Guide for UK Importers

The trading of animals and feed was a hurdle for importers and exporters at one time. This problem was solved when the government of the UK developed a system named IPAFFS (Import of Products, Animals, Food, and Feed System). A system that maintains the track ID of the living and provides certificates, which are essential during the customs declaration process.

A trading system that has helped traders a lot and is making the customs trade efficient. This blog explains in detail the working structures and benefits of IPAFFS. Moreover, it highlights how one can take advantage of this system and what good it does.

What does IPAFFS mean?

IPAFFS, which stands for the Import of Products, Animals, Food and Feed System, is an importer and import agent-specific digital platform. Its primary goal is to make it possible for them to report inbound products to the appropriate authorities in Great Britain. This notification procedure is essential for certain product categories, such as live animals, animal byproducts, certain foods and feeds that are not generated from animals, animal-derived goods, composite food products, plants, and plant-based goods.

The Brexit movement created multiple challenges for the UK, which affected trade and compliance. TRADE (Trade Control and Expert System), which handled the trade of animals and food, is no longer available for the EU. Thus, a new system was introduced on the market named IPAFFS. It is defined as:

“A web-based application that helps traders get certificates of Health Entry Documents (HED). These documents pre-notify the customs authorities before the consignment boards.”

When the documents are issued to the trader, he submits them to the customs declaration page and then submits them for declaration. IPAFFS customs has surpassed competitors because it is efficient and user-friendly. A trader has to register his account with IPAFFS in order to qualify for certification and then submit the declaration. For the IPAFFS service that HMRC offers, use document code C065.

Importers use IPAFFS declarations to transmit critical information to authorities ahead of the arrival of commodities from both EU and non-EU countries. This system aids in guaranteeing traceability, regulatory compliance, and essential safety precautions for imports into the United Kingdom. It also makes it easier to oversee and regulate the different items that come into the country, which adds to the general safety and security of the agricultural and food industries.

IPAFFS Notifications for Specific Imports

According to the UK Govt, when notifying British authorities about specific commodities coming from both EU and non-EU countries prior to arrival, importers and import agents must use IPAFFS imports. Among these things are:

  • Live animals
  • Animal by-products (ABP)
  • Plant products
  • Composite food products
  • Products of animal origin (POAO)
  • High-risk food and feed not of animal origin (HRFNAO)
  • Germinal products

When importing anything from the Republic of Ireland, you are not required to notify the authorities of the following:

  • Plants and plant products
  • ABP
  • POAO 
  • composite products

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How is IPAFFS helpful for traders?

Animals, food, feed systems, and other living products are all under IPAFFS’s purview for import management. This system allows the importers to notify and submit a report about the things they are importing. It offers a bunch of services that include:

Paper-free systema

IPAFFS simplifies the import process by providing a single location to file all the required paperwork and apply for clearance. It reduces the amount of hurdles that companies often have to go through, which speeds up the import process. Because of its efficiency, traders may concentrate more of their time on growing their enterprises and less time on tedious activities.

Clarity in process

The system guarantees that import norms, standards, and requirements are defined and disseminated in a consistent manner. Information on import policies, documentation needs, and regulatory compliance standards is easily accessible to companies. When importers and distributors know exactly what is expected of them, everything runs more smoothly and in accordance with regulations.

Precautionary notifications

IPAFFS system incorporates risk assessment techniques to help identify potential hazards or dangers related to imported products, animals, food, and feed.  This system can aid merchants by permitting them to deal with risks in advance, implement necessary control mechanisms, and ensure that all necessary standards for quality and safety are met. Consequently, compliance issues will cause fewer imports to be rejected or held up.

Better interaction

IPAFFS facilitates better interaction and coordination between market participants and authorities. Traders can post queries to the hub, which will then provide them with responses and guidance. It streamlines interaction between parties and ensures that those involved in import transactions have ready access to relevant information and resources.

Ease for sellers

In the event of a recall or other safety concern, IPAFFS streamlines the process of recalling and managing recalled products. Sellers can track the movement of potentially compromised inventory in real-time, facilitating rapid product recalls and other preventative measures. Protecting public health and consumer safety with this traceability feature boosts the standing of market participants.

Fair competition

IPAFFS facilitates increased oversight of imports by regulatory agencies, which in turn increases conformity with rules and standards.  Business owners benefit from this kind of monitoring because it promotes fair competition and helps ensure that unsafe or low-quality products do not make it to consumers. By adhering to the rules established by regulatory bodies, traders can protect their reputations and bank accounts.

How does IPAFFS work?

The methodology of ipaff working is simple and easy to follow, but they should still take assistance from customs experts. You need to have an account on the Government Gateway Account. If you are not registered on this platform, you need to create an account.

Once you have created your account, you can register for DEFRA and IPAFFS services. If a trader already uses DEFRA services, he can directly switch to IPAFFS. IPFFS login details are the same as for a government gateway account. Choose “register for more services’ ‘ if you already use other DEFRA services and want to sign up for IPAFFS.

If you’re an import agent representing an importer, you’ll need to create an IPAFFS login account using your own company information. As IPAFFS users, you should not use the ‘intermediaries” option on the “Manage account” page. You are liable for the shipment from the time it reaches the UK until the time the authorities have finished their inspections after you have issued a notification in IPAFFS.

Benefits of IPAFFS

Both governments and companies that participate in international trade can reap benefits from the import system for goods, animals, food, and feed. Among the many advantages are:

New Exposure

Countries that are able to import goods are able to provide their citizens with a wider selection of products than those produced domestically. It paves the way for people to experiment with novel products from all over the world.

Economic Growth

Imports contribute to the expansion and diversification of the economy by introducing businesses to new markets and clients. The money collected in taxes, fees, and import tariffs facilitates the movement of products and services, which supports economic growth.

Strengthen the Supply chain

Importing goods, animals, food, and feed from other regions strengthens supply chains by increasing their diversity and thus decreasing vulnerability to disruptions. The risk of interruption from events like natural disasters, political unrest, or market swings is reduced, and dependence on a single source is reduced.

Decreasing vulnerability

Imports provide countries with the opportunity to learn about and benefit from the world’s most cutting-edge innovations in technology, resources, and expertise. As a result, domestic businesses may benefit from increased growth and flexibility as information and ideas become more easily shared.

Healthy Living

When natural catastrophes or seasonal changes lower local output, importing food and animal feed can assist in guaranteeing that every citizen of a nation has access to healthy options.


Many nations with populations that rely on imported goods have instituted rigorous regulations and quality standards to protect their citizens’ well-being. Products that have gone through the import system’s rigorous inspection and certification process tend to be more trustworthy among consumers.

Trade Between Communities

The exchange of goods between communities with different cultural backgrounds is beneficial to both sides. Accepting many cuisines, traditions, and practices from throughout the world demonstrates how cross-cultural exchanges broaden people’s horizons and promote understanding.

Despite its benefits, the import system necessitates strict oversight, regulation, and implementation in order to safeguard customers and maintain the highest standards of product quality and safety. To protect domestic industries, the public’s health and reduce related risks, governments impose checks and controls on imported goods.

The Bottom Line

IPAFFS is essential for UK importers, ensuring the safety, quality, and regulatory compliance of imported goods, animals, food, and feed. It greatly simplifies import procedures while maintaining high standards. Importers use IPAFFS to comply with rules, protect consumer health, preserve industry integrity, and sustain the import ecosystem. Understanding and mastery of IPAFFS is becoming increasingly important for importers to negotiate the difficulties of international trade seamlessly as import processes evolve.

Streamline your import procedures and guarantee compliance with IPAFFS standards by partnering with iCustoms right now. Discover our professional services to confidently and smoothly handle the challenges of importing.


What does IPAFFS stand for?

IPAFFS is an acronym for "Import of Animals, Food, and Feed System Products."

What is IPAFFS?

A system called IPAFFS is used to control and keep an eye on the import of goods, livestock, food, and feed into a nation.

Is IPAFFS document submission necessary for every trader?

No, IPAFFS is only required when the goods an importer is finding fall into one of the categories of animals, animal feed, food, or similar products.

What does DEFRA stand for?

The Department of Environment, Food, and Rural Affairs is commonly abbreviated as DEFRA. In the United Kingdom, this agency oversees environmental, agricultural, fishery, food, and rural community policies and regulations.

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