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Animal health rules governing the production, processing, distribution and introduction of products of animal origin for human consumption

In the context of the review of food hygiene legislation ("hygiene package") , the aim of this Directive is to establish conditions for placing animal products on the market together with restrictions applicable to products from non-EU countries or regions of non-EU countries subject to animal health restrictions.


Council Directive 2002/99/EC of 12 December 2002 laying down the animal health rules governing the production, processing, distribution and introduction of products of animal origin for human consumption.


This Directive harmonises and strengthens veterinary public health requirements scattered throughout the legislation. It makes for stricter application of animal health rules and a broader scope.

The Directive thus covers all production stages of a product of animal origin: primary production, processing, transport, storage and sale. It also applies to live animals intended for human consumption. It lays down animal health conditions applicable to all these stages.

General animal health requirements

The Directive makes the Member States responsible for measures needed to eradicate the transmission of animal diseases and lays down the conditions to be met for products of animal origin, banning those from areas or territories subject to animal health restrictions. In the latter case, the Directive stipulates the conditions for possible derogations.

Veterinary certificates and checks

The Directive specifies when Member States must require veterinary certificates, together with detailed rules for their application.

However, pending the adoption of the whole "hygiene package", the Member States are responsible for official veterinary controls and measures applicable where infringements of the animal health rules are found.

Imports from non-EU countries

The competent authorities of the Member States must take the necessary measures to ensure that imported products of animal origin comply with the requirements applicable to Community products.

The Directive makes provision for the creation and updating of lists of non-EU countries or regions of non-EU countries from which imports are authorised. It lays down the conditions a country needs to meet to be included in these lists. Among other requirements, the Directive requires non-EU countries and regions to undergo a compulsory Community audit and obtain a veterinary certificate in accordance with the specific procedure set out in the Directive.

The Community inspections and/or audits can be carried out throughout the food chain in the non-EU countries included in the lists.

Revision clause

The Directive contains a revision clause with a view to amending the Annexes, where the following are specified: animal diseases covered (Annex I), description of the compulsory elements, which should include special identification markings for meat from a territory subject to animal health restrictions (Annex II), and general principles of certification (Annex IV).


In January 2000, the Commission presented a complete recast of legislation dealing with food hygiene and veterinary aspects "hygiene package". This reorganisation comprises five acts on the following subjects:


ActEntry into forceDeadline for transposition in the Member StatesOfficial Journal
Directive 2002/99/EC01.01.200531.12.2004OJ L 18 of 23.01.2003
Last updated: 28.01.2011
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