Each year, vast quantities of live animals and goods are being traded within and into the European Union (EU) for the benefit of over 500 million Europeans, raising the question: how can the European citizens be sure that the food reaching their plates is safe? For this reason, the European Commission has taken extensive action in this direction over the past years in order to ensure the safety of the agri-food chain. The establishment of TRACES has been an essential component for this accomplishment. The following video showcases TRACES, and explains how its use enhances food safety within the European Union.
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What is TRACES
TRACES is the European Commission's multilingual online platform for sanitary and phytosanitary certification required for the importation of animals, animal products, food and feed of non-animal origin and plants into the European Union, and the intra-EU trade and EU exports of animals and certain animal products.
Its main objective is to streamline the certification process and all linked entry procedures and to offer a fully digitised and paperless workflow in line with the Commission's communication on Shaping Europe's digital future.
More than 42 000 users from about 85 countries worldwide are using TRACES.
TRACES facilitates the exchange of data, information and documents between all involved trading parties and control authorities and therefore simplifies and speeds up the administrative procedures.
The possibility to trace back and forth all the movements of animals, animal products, food and feed of non-animal origin and plants contributes to the reduction of the impact of disease outbreaks and allows for a quick response to counter certain serious risks along the agri-food chain.
The TRACES platform enhances cooperation and coordination between the competent authorities of EU countries and non-EU countries, but also between the traders themselves and their competent authorities. When a decision is taken on a consignment, the involved parties are notified and have access to the relevant documents. TRACES allows for the quick detection of fake certificates and therefore contributes to the enhancement of trust and better collaboration.
The statistical tool allows the extraction of valuable data in relation to imports into the EU, exports from the EU and intra-Union trade.
TRACES is available in the 23 official languages of the EU and in 34 languages in total; this facilitates the use of TRACES also for the non-EU countries' competent authorities and trading partners.
TRACES is accessible 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, free of charge. What is only needed in order to access, is to have an internet connection and set up an account.
TRACES is an efficient tool to ensure:
- Traceability (monitoring movements of consignments, both within the EU and from non-EU countries);
- Information exchange (enabling trade partners and competent authorities to easily exchange information on the movements of their consignments and by significantly speeding up administrative procedures);
- Risk management (reacting rapidly to health threats by tracing the movements of consignments and facilitating the risk management of rejected consignments).
- Contact the TRACES Helpdesk to obtain more information on the use of TRACES at +32 2 297 63 50 or via email: SANTE-TRACES@ec.europa.eu
- Discover the TRACES Documentation website; your gateway to all user manuals and guides on all the modules that are available in TRACES
- Register on CIRCABC and join the TRACES Toolkit group to gain access to additional material and information in relation to TRACES (documentation/ presentations / web services etc.)