If you carry perishable foodstuffs abroad in an insulated refrigerated vehicle or container, many countries require you to comply with the Agreement on the international carriage of perishable foodstuffs and special equipment to be used for such carriage (ATP).

Driver and Vehicle Standards Agency (DVSA)

If you own or operate a vehicle to transport perishable foodstuffs across international borders between countries that are signatories to ATP, you must have an ATP certificate for that vehicle.

Read the provisions of the ATP on the United Nations UNECE website

Note that non-processed – ie fresh fruit and vegetables are not included within the scope of ATP.

In general, ATP’s provisions prescribe the norms and standards for:

  • preserving the quality of perishable foodstuffs during their international transport – ie are the goods insulated, refrigerated, mechanically refrigerated or heated as appropriate?
  • the special transport equipment required
  • checking that insulation is appropriate and intact
  • distinguishing marks to be affixed to the special equipment
  • the equipment and temperature conditions for deep-frozen and frozen foodstuffs

A new model ATP certificate and a revised index can be downloaded from the UNECE website.

Your vehicle or container must carry a certificate or plate to show that it meets the standards for refrigeration and thermal efficiency laid down in the ATP. Checks on the certificate or plate may be made at borders or inside the countries concerned.

An ATP certificate is issued following an inspection of the vehicle or container by a ‘Designated Station’. In the UK, the Driver and Vehicle Standards Agency (DVSA), on behalf of the Department for Transport, has approved Cambridge Refrigeration Technology as a ‘designated station’. They are authorised to test, examine, and certify vehicles and containers in accordance with the ATP.

For more information – including a list of ATP member countries, download DVSA’s guide to ATP



Guide to ATP

The section relating to temperature recorders states:

Temperature Recorders
Recorder can be independent or integral to the temperature control system of the

Temperature recorders are required for frozen cargoes classed as QFF (quick frozen
foodstuffs). The definition of QFF foodstuffs is frozen food taken through its point of
maximum ice crystal formation as quickly as possible and specifically labelled as QFF.
Different regulations apply to QFF foods than to frozen food.

QFF temperature recorders are required to be approved and then regularly calibrated as
specified by EN 12830 and 13486