Under the terms of
the Treaty establishing the European Community,
there is a clear difference between the
In relation to animal products,
- intra-community trade or ' trade' refers solely to the movement of animal products between EU Member States.
- Importation, or ' imports' refers solely to the movement of animal products into the Member States from third Countries outside the European Union.
Everyday, many consignments of meat, milk and other products of animal origin are traded or imported in the European Union. In order that all such consignments can be moved safely avoiding the transmission of diseases to either the public or other animals, the EU has laid down a wide range of animal health requirements.
The general animal
health requirements that are applicable to both
imports and intra-community trade are laid down
in specific Council Directives.
In general, the requirements for intra-community trade are harmonized between the Member States. To ensure harmonisation is maintained, meat, milk and other products of animal origin must be produced in an authorised establishment usually under the supervision of an official veterinarian. Further random checks on the products may also be carried out at the final destination.
In addition to the general health requirements, specific requirements for animal products may also be required which take account of such issues as evolving disease situations in the Member States. In such instances, specific animal health certificates may be required.
imports, additional requirements are set
out in specific Commission Decisions. These lay
down health certificates which must accompany
all imports and which must be signed by an
official veterinarian of the competent
authority of the exporting third country
guaranteeing that the conditions for import
into the EU have been met. On arrival in the
EU, the animal products and the accompanying
certificates must be verified and checked by EU
official veterinarians at a designated Border
Inspection Post (BIP). Further checks on the
products may also be carried out at the final
(More details on the requirements for intra-community trade and imports for animal products can be found under the menu above.)