Game animals are defined as land mammals and birds, either in the wild or farmed, that are not normally considered to be domestic animals (The following animals are specifically excluded: bovines, domestic swine, sheep and goats, domestic solipeds, domestic fowl, turkeys, guinea-fowl, ducks and geese).
Under the terms of the Treaty establishing the European Union (EU), there is a clear difference between the definitions for trade and introduction. In relation to live animals and animal products, intra-EU trade or "trade" refers solely to the movement of animals and animal products between EU Member States. Introduction refers solely to the movement of animals and animal products into the Member States from third Countries outside the EU.
NB Introduction, as it covers transit with or without storage in the EU, has generally replaced the word import except in the case of live animals.
The following rules must be respected before fresh meat derived from game animals can be introduced into the EU:
Fresh game meat must fulfil the animal health requirements laid down in the underlying Directives applicable to each classification of game animal. This classification is based on both the species of animal, and its origin. Hence there is a clear distinction made between meat from wild game, and meat from farmed game animals. However, irrespective of the origin, the underlying Directives establish the basic rules and the animal health and public health requirements for the import into the territory of the EU of fresh game meat.
- Council Directive 2002/99/EC forms the legal basis for all animal health rules governing the production, processing, distribution and introduction of products of animal origin for human consumption.
- Regulation (EC) No 854/2004 and Regulation (EC) No 853/2004 forms the legal base for the public health for EU-trade and imports.
The rules for introduction are outlined below
- Harmonisation ensures that the same requirements for importation of game meat are applied in all the Member States, and prevents meat that may be carrying infectious diseases that are dangerous for livestock or humans from entering EU territory.
- Description of the principles on which importation of game meat is authorised, and the requirements to be fulfilled by a third country before it can export fresh meat. The most important aspects are
- the legislation of the third country.
- the health status of livestock, of other domestic animals and wild life.
- the regularity and rapidity of information on infectious animal diseases provided by the third country to the Commission and the World Organisation for Animal Health.
- the country's rules on the prevention and control of animal diseases.
- the organisation, structure, competence and power of the veterinary services.
- Possibility for regionalisation (zoning) of a country. This means that depending on the animal health situation and the guarantees offered by that country, only a part of its territory may be authorised to export fresh meat to the EU.
- In addition, other more specific conditions as regards certain important infectious animal diseases may be laid down.
- There is also the requirement that all imports of game meat into the EU must come from an approved establishment (slaughterhouse, cutting plant game processing plant etc) that has been authorised and listed for that purpose. Criteria that must be fulfilled in order for an establishment to be authorised are listed in the Directive. A list of establishments that are authorised to produce game meat are maintained in specific Commission Decisions for each third country and a link to the web site with an up to date list cab be found [HERE].
2. Before a third country or part thereof is authorised to export fresh meat derived from game animals into the EU, the Commission's Food and Veterinary Office (FVO) carries out a mission to verify that all the criteria provided for under EU legislation are properly fulfilled.
3. Based on the principles contained in EU legislation and on the results of the FVO mission, the third country may be added to the list of third countries authorised for the export of game meat. These are laid down according to the origin of the meat, and the species from which it is derived. A third country must be included in the following lists before exporting fresh game meat to the EU:
For furred farm game meat imports may be authorised from third countries from which the corresponding species are also authorised for import from the corresponding species as listed in Commission Regulation (EU) No 206/2010 .
NB This regulation has replaced Council Decision 79/542/EEC but there is a transitional period for the use of the old certificates until 30th June.
For feathered farm game meat (poultry) and wild feathered game meat - imports may be authorised from third countries from which fresh poultry meat is also authorised pursuant to Directive 91/494/EEC, as listed in Commission Regulation (EC) No 798/2008.
NB Minced meat and MSM from these species are not authorised for import into the EU.
For farmed rabbit meat, wild rabbit and hare meat and certain wild land mammal meat, the list of third countries authorised for export into the EU is laid down in Commission Regulation (EC) No 119/2009.
For other wild game meat - third countries are listed in Commission Regulation (EU) No 206/2010.
4. When a third country or part thereof has been listed in the relevant legislation as indicated above, then it is approved in principle for export to the EU. However, further steps are needed before exports of fresh meat can take place. An assessment of the specific disease situation is carried out. Special conditions may be required to mitigate potential disease risks. Specific conditions may be laid down and are reflected in the requirements laid down in the veterinary animal health certificate which must accompany all fresh game meat imports entering the EU.
For the import of fresh, frozen and chilled game meat, all the animal health conditions and veterinary certificates are laid down in the legislation as indicated above for the listing of third countries.. They set down a number of different veterinary health certificates to reflect the different disease susceptibility and breeding conditions between various types of game animals, both farmed and wild. The import certificates which all have a certificate code included in brackets are classified below as follows:
- meat of wild non-domestic animals other than suidae and solipeds,(RUW – Commission Regulation (EU) No 206/2010;
- meat of farmed non-domestic animals other than suidae and solipeds, ( RUF – Commission Regulation (EU) No 206/2010);
- meat of wild non-domestic suidae, ( SUW – Commission Regulation (EU) No 206/2010);
- meat of farmed non-domestic suidae , ( SUF – Commission Regulation (EU) No 206/2010);
- meat of wild game birds, (WGM – Commission Regulation (EC) No 798/2008);
- meat of farmed game birds (excluding farmed ratite meat - see poultry meat);
- meat of wild non-domesticated solipeds, (defined as zebra meat), ( EQW – Commission Regulation (EU) No 206/2010);
- meat of wild leporidae, defined as rabbits and hares, (WL - Commission Regulation (EC) No 119/2009),
- meat of farmed rabbits, (RM - Commission Regulation (EC) No 119/2009);
- meat of wild land mammals, excluding wild ungulates and leporidae, (WM - Commission Regulation (EC) No 119/2009).
NB Meat of wild non-domesticated solipeds, excluding zebra meat is not authorised for import into the EU
5. is the case for fresh meat, third countries must also comply with certain public health requirements in order to export meat products. For example, a country is required to have an approved ‘residue’ monitoring plan and be listed on Commission Decision 2004/432/EC of 29 April 2004 on the approval of residue monitoring plans submitted by third countries in accordance with Council Directive 96/23/EC, and implement certain conditions in relation to BSE (for products containing bovine and ovine meat). Details of the general public health requirements can be found [HERE] and additional information on residues [HERE].
6. In addition animal welfare requirements at slaughter must be met in accordance with EU legislation. Details of the welfare requirements may be found [HERE]
7. Game meat entering the EU are inspected at a Border Inspection Post (BIP) (listed in Commission Decision 2009/821/EC) where Member States' official veterinarians ensure they fulfil all the requirements provided for in the EU legislation. (Council Directive 97/78/EC of 18 December 1997 lays down the principles governing the organisation of veterinary checks on products of animals origin entering the EU from third countries).
8. The importers must follow the procedures laid down in Commission Regulation (EC) No 136/2004 before, during and after the entry of the goods of animal origin into the EU via a BIP. To ensure better traceability and more uniform control, the Commission introduced a veterinary informatics system called TRACES (TRAde Control and Expert System). The system is also accessible for economic operators who want to participate in it for their own benefit, i.e. for the easier completion of consignment introduction details. To use the application please visit https://sanco.cec.europa.eu/traces. Online training is provided at http://www.traces-cbt.net. To learn more about TRACES or for further information please contact your local competent veterinary authority in the EU.
9. A summary providing "General guidance for third country authorities on procedures to be followed when importing live animals and animal products into the EU" can be found [HERE]
Last Update: 08-06-2010