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Trade and Imports of Animal Products - Introduction of personal consignments

Personal consignments containing meat, milk or their products and brought into the EU continue to present a real threat to animal health throughout the EU. It is known, for example, that dangerous pathogens that cause animal diseases such as Foot and Mouth Disease and Classical swine fever can reside in meat, milk or their products. Hence pathogens could be introduced into the EU if personal consignments containing meat, milk or their products are sent by post or carried in the baggage of travellers arriving from countries outside the EU, where such pathogens may be circulating.

A video in 35 languages has been developed. It is intended to be screened at EU points of entry and in particular in airports, as well as during flights coming from outside the EU. All 35 language versions of the video can be found on the following page

Background

Following the 2001 Foot and Mouth Disease epidemic within the EU, the Commission considered that the mechanisms in place to prevent the introduction of personal consignments of meat, milk or their products should be strengthened across the EU. In the first instance, this was done by temporarily removing exemptions that had previously allowed personal consignments of meat, milk or their products to be carried into the Community without veterinary certification. These safeguard rules were laid down in Commission Decision 2002/995/EC, and were accompanied by a publicity campaign to make people aware of the new requirements. Press releases detailing the aim of these temporary rules were also produced:

In view of the continuing risk of serious animal diseases being introduced into the Community via the introduction of personal consignments of meat, milk or their products, Commission Decision 2002/995/EC was updated and replaced with more permanent measures. These have been laid down in Commission Regulation (EC) No 745/2004. The Regulation came into force on 1 May 2004, and:

Travellers are, however, allowed to bring in limited quantities of infant or specialist food required for medical purposes from all third countries, providing that

Personal consignments of meat, meat products, milk or milk products with a combined total weight that does not exceed 5 kg from the Faeroe Islands, Greenland, Iceland, Liechtenstein, Norway and Switzerland also fall outside the scope of the Regulation. The import of any other personal consignments of meat and milk will only be permitted subject to declaration of the goods on arrival together with the necessary official veterinary documentation (i.e. the same as for commercial imports).

Current Rules - Commission Regulation (EC) No 206/2009

Since 1 May 2009, clearer EU rules on the introduction of personal consignments of animal products into the EU are laid down in Commission Regulation (EC) No 206/2009. This Regulation, which repeals Commission Regulation (EC) No 745/2004, intends to clearly explain to the general public the rules concerning the introduction of animal products into the European Union. Indeed, animal products brought into the EU by travellers or through the post, could pose a risk to the health of EU livestock by carrying with them certain animal diseases such as foot and mouth disease. The general public therefore plays an important role in ensuring biosecurity and keeping such diseases out of the EU.

Enforcement and Publicity Campaigns

Enforcing the rules governing the introduction of personal consignments of meat, milk or their products, and ensuring that the public are made aware of their responsibilities are both vital components in preventing unauthorised meat, milk or their products from entering the EU. There are several provisions to enforce the rules and raise public awareness:

Enforcement

Provisions include:

A summary of the measures taken to enforce the rules on the introduction of personal consignments of animal products in Member States in 2008 to 2011 in accordance with Commission Regulation (EC) No 206/2009 can be found here

Publicity

A requirement for transport operators to inform passengers that they carry into the Community of the rules governing the introduction of personal consignments of meat, milk or their products. This includes provisions for transport operators to make use of existing means of passenger communication, such as leaflets and in-flight magazines to publicise the rules. The text to be conveyed can be found on the following page.

In 2002, the Commission first produced full size posters in 35 languages for display at EU entry points to ensure passengers are aware of rules before they enter customs points. The posters have been printed and distributed to all 27 Member States. The posters have been updated in 2013 and they are available for download (Version 1Version 2).

A specific awareness campaign "Diseases don't respect borders" also took place during the European Veterinary Week 2008 (10-16 November 2008) organised in partnership with the Federation of Veterinarians of Europe. During the Veterinary Week, there were actions in all major EU airports, ports and border crossings to ensure that the message was conveyed effectively to travellers by different means. In particular, posters in 34 languages were displayed, to ensure that passengers were aware of the new rules and the reasons behind them.

In addition, the EU Veterinary Week 2008 campaign raised awareness among travellers about preventing animal diseases from entering the EU via the introduction of domestic animals coming from non-EU countries by reminding them of the need to provide the correct certification. The posters can be found at the following page.