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Food Safety

Official controls on imported products

The European Union is a major importer of food and feed. Strict import rules with respect to food and feed hygiene, consumer safety and animal health status aim at assuring that all imports fulfill the same high standards as products from the EU itself. Import controls are crucial in verifying compliance of food and feed products with relevant requirements.

Current approach to import controls varies according to the sector.

Mandatory channelling of products to border control entities and uniform frequencies for checks apply to live animals, products of animal origin, plants and plant products because of the risk those commodities might pose in relation to animal or plant health respectively.

The vast majority of other products of relevance for the food chain is not channelled through specific border entities and doesn't need to undergo mandatory checks prior to their entry into the EU. It concerns for example feed and food which are of non-animal origin - including certain composite products, additives and other substances that might impact on the characteristics of food and feed, or materials intended to enter into contact with food.

One notable exception is food and feed of non-animal origin which is temporarily subject to mandatory border controls due to the existence of an identified risk (i.e. the products listed under Regulation (EC) No 669/2009).

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Further information

Animals and products of animal origin

Imported products of animal origin and live animals present a high level of risk as they can transmit serious human and animal diseases.

Approval of pre-export checks

Regulation (EC) No 882/2004 (Article 23) allows the European Commission to approve specific pre-export checks carried out by a non-EU country prior to...

Contact details of BCPs and CPs - Food and feed of non-animal origin

Certain food and feed of non-animal origin are subject to increased levels of official import controls, as set out in Regulation (EU) 2021/608.

Contact details of BCPs and CPs - Plants and plant products

EU rules on plant health aim to protect crops, fruit, vegetables, flowers, ornamentals and forests from harmful pests and diseases (harmful organisms)