Sanitary and phytosanitary requirements for exporting to the EU
Goods imported into the EU must meet specific sanitary and phytosanitary requirements to protect human and animal health. The European Commission's Export Helpdesk provides resources outlining the requirements that apply to specific products.
The European Union rules on official controls are divided in two Regulations intended to be implemented by competent authorities, one that sets out the official control principles and obligations and the other one on how official controls are to be organised by the competent authorities, as follows:
- Official controls performed to ensure the verification of compliance with feed and food law, animal health and animal welfare rules
- Specific rules for the organisation of official controls on products of animal origin intended for human consumption
The main requirements can be classified in these sectors:
- Food and feed safety: EU rules on food safety are designed to protect human life and health health while the rules on animal feed aim at protecting human and animal life and health. If a problem likely to pose a serious risk to human or animal health or to the environment arises in a non-EU country, the EU may adopt protective measures, either imposing special conditions or suspending imports of products from all or part of the country concerned.
- Animal health: EU health rules on animals and products of animal origin are designed to protect and improve the health of animals (especially food-producing ones). Click here to access the general conditions that imports of foodstuffs must comply with. If an outbreak of a disease in a non-EU country poses a serious threat to animal or public health, EU authorities may apply temporary protective measures – including suspension of imports from all or part of the country concerned or special requirements on products from that country.
- Plant health: If you export plants and plants products (including fruit and vegetables and wood products) to the EU, you have to make sure that your products comply with the EU legislation on plant health. The EU has laid down phytosanitary requirements to prevent the EU introduction and spread of organisms harmful to plants and plant products. Please note that the phytosanitary requirements also apply to wood used to package or wedge food or non-food products (called wood packaging material). So, even if your primary object is to export e.g. fishery products or toys, you have to take into account the phytosanitary requirements if you use wood as materials to packages and ship your products. Processed plant products such as furniture or wooden artifacts do not fall under the scope of these requirements.
- Public health: The EU's public health rules are designed to protect the population from major health threats. Public health measures include: monitoring and control of communicable diseases (e.g. severe acute respiratory syndrome (SARS) and pandemic influenza), controlling health problems related to unhealthy lifestyles (e.g. tobacco, drugs), monitoring of trade in drug precursors (to prevent the illicit use of certain chemicals to manufacture drugs like ecstasy and amphetamines).