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Food Safety

Poultry and hatching eggs


The animal health requirements for intra-Community trade in live poultry and hatching eggs are laid down in Council Directive 2009/158/EC. This Directive, which has been amended several times, harmonises the rules for intra-Community trade in poultry and establishes the animal health guarantees needed for trade between the EU countries. It does not apply to movements within an individual EU country.

  • The objective of this harmonisation is to ensure that the same requirements are applied for trade between all the EU countries thereby ensuring the safe and free circulation of the animals in the EU territory

  • The Directive lays down precise rules to be respected during the production of live poultry and hatching eggs, and movement between the EU countries. For example all poultry for breeding and production must come from approved establishments, and before entering intra-community trade, must have been undergone an animal health inspection and show no signs of a contagious poultry disease. For the two important very contagious poultry diseases specific control measures are laid down in Directive 2005/94/EC for Avian influenza in Directive 92/66/EEC for Newcastle disease. In the event of a suspicion and subsequent confirmation of these diseases these measures must be followed with the aim to eradicate the outbreak. Hygiene requirements are also laid down for the transport of live poultry and hatching eggs in order to avoid any possible spread of serious disease in the EU

  • Traceability is a key component of animal health control. Hence consignments of live poultry and hatching eggs must be appropriately identified to ensure that when they are presented for dispatch to another EU country, they can be subsequently accounted for on arrival at the place of destination

  • The Directive provides also for a harmonised veterinary health certificate in which, prior to dispatch, an official veterinarian attests that poultry and hatching eggs fulfil all the animal health requirements for intra-trade. The certificate accompanies each consignment and the movement must be recorded in TRACES. This computer based tracking system links up the veterinary authorities and allows the Member State of destination to verify that the arriving consignment corresponds to that specified in the certificate. Because there are no longer border controls between the EU countries, non-discriminatory on the spot checks are carried out at destination according to Directive 90/425/EEC.


Please refer to the 'EU import conditions for poultry and poultry products' page.