Import of Food, Tobacco Products and Alcoholic Beverages

Importing goods, tobacco, and alcohol products into Turkey is subject to the following legislation and procedures. Please kindly be aware that under Turkish legislation, the import of different types of products is subject to several special conditions. Therefore, this memorandum is prepared to clarify the processes of food, tobacco, and alcoholic beverage import into Turkey in general terms.
1. Turkish Food Codex (General Rules)

Ministry of Agriculture and Forestry published two regulations that are prepared in accordance with the relevant EU directives and regulations to protect consumers.

1.1. Turkish Food Codex Regulation on Food Labeling and Informing Consumers

The regulation shall apply in all steps of the food chain and any food to be provided to consumers. As per this regulation, food information shown on the label shall not misconduct the consumers as to the characteristics of food, quantity and qualities, country of origin etc.

An imported food product may arrive in its original package, but an additional permanent label in Turkish must be attached to the package before marketing it. Such label must be explicit and accurate, and include certain obligatory info such as list of ingredients, country of origin, alcohol rate (if more than 1,2%) etc.

1.2. The Turkish Food Codex Regulation on Nutrition and Health Statements

This regulation applies to nutrition and health statements made in the labeling, presentation, or advertisement of foods to be provided to consumers. According to the regulation, nutrition and health statements shall not be false, ambiguous or misleading.

2. Food Import Processes

Import of food products into Turkey is allowed only if the product complies with the regulations related to Turkish Food Codex and import controls.

Turkey is harmonizing its food import regulations with those of the EU. In this regard, first the importer should notify the Provincial Agriculture and Forestry Directorates (“PAFD”) of the shipment details by filling the “Shipment Notification Form” and upload the form and other required documents before the arrival. PAFD evaluates these documents to decide whether the food to be imported is in line with the legislation.

When the product arrives at Turkish ports/customs, the importer should present the approved Control Certificate (if required for that type of product) together with the original invoice, ingredient list, certificate of origin, plant health certificate or free sale certificate or health certificate, as well as other import documentation, such as bill of lading etc. After the documentation are verified, PAFD inspectors carry out physical checks, including taking samples of the product and send it to laboratory for physical, chemical, and microbiological analysis.

What is Control Certificate?

Control Certificate (“CC”) is required while importing certain animals or foods of animal origin. CC is considered as pre-import permission for certain foods. The importer should file an application with the required documents such as proforma invoice, sample veterinary health certificate, ingredient list etc. to obtain CC.

3. Tobacco Product Import

As per the Presidential Decree No. 2149 dated 24.02.2020, the import of cigarettes and electronic cigarettes into Turkey is prohibited whereas cigars and cigarillo can be imported. “Cigar and Cigarillo Import Authorization Certificate” and “Certificate of Conformity to the Market” must be obtained from the relevant department of the Ministry of Agriculture and Forestry in order to import cigars and cigarillo. For 2022:

(i) TRY 192.343,00 must be paid for Cigar and Cigarillo Import Authorization Certificate, and
(ii) TRY 16.138,00 must be paid for annual extension of the same.

Cigars and cigarillos to be imported must comply with the TS 13444 Cigar and Cigarillos Standard prepared by the Turkish Standards Institute.

4. Import of Alcoholic Beverages

Importers of certain alcoholic beverages are obliged to notify the Ministry of Agriculture and Forestry (“Ministry”) regarding the required info of its company, and the alcoholic beverages to be imported, before the exit procedures are completed in the exporting country. Alcoholic beverages subject to notification are listed in the annex of the relevant regulation. Information about the products to be imported must include:

(i) Control Document
(ii) Explanation about the country of origin standard applied in production
(iii) A copy of the trademark registration documents, if any
(iv) The names and addresses of the companies in the production phase (v) A Turkish label sample prepared in accordance with the provisions of the Turkish Food Codex is requested.

5. Opening a Retail Store

Those who will open a retail store (market) must obtain a business license from municipality. Besides, companies that will sell alcoholic beverages shall also apply to Ministry for “certificate of retail sales of alcoholic beverage” (Alkollü İçki Perakende Satış Belgesi).