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Intra-Community trade in and imports of bovine embryos

The European Union has set up a harmonised system for intra-Community trade and imports of embryos of bovine animals, in order to reduce the risk of spreading animal diseases.


Council Directive 89/556/EEC of 25 September 1989 on animal health conditions governing intra-Community trade in and importation from third countries of embryos of domestic animals of the bovine species [See amending act(s)].


The Directive lays down animal health conditions for trade between Member States in embryos of domestic cattle and imports from third countries.

Intra-Community trade in embryos is limited to those complying with conditions concerning conception, collection, processing, storage and certification. The embryos must be accompanied during transport by a health certificate certifying that they conform to this Directive.

The Directive envisages a system for approving the embryo collection and production teams in the Member States and in third countries. Each team is registered by the competent authority of the country concerned and receives a veterinary registration number.

The list of embryo collection and production teams and their veterinary registration number is regularly updated by the Member States. The latter then communicate the list to the other Member States and the public.

Imports of embryos from third countries are restricted to a list of authorised countries to be drawn up by a procedure provided for by Article 18 with regard to certain criteria (the health of the livestock, information on contagious diseases, prevention and combating animal diseases, the structure of veterinary services, the guarantees provided, etc.).

The Directive provides for safeguard and control measures in the country of collection and the country of destination.


ActEntry into forceDeadline for transposition in the Member StatesOfficial Journal

Directive 89/556/EEC



OJ L 302, 19.10.1989

Amending act(s)Entry into forceDeadline for transposition in the Member StatesOfficial Journal

Directive 90/425/EEC



OJ L 224, 18.8.1990

Directive 93/52/EEC



OJ L 175, 19.7.1993

Regulation (EC) No 806/2003



OJ L 122, 16.5.2003

Directive 2008/73/EC



OJ L 219, 14.8.2008

The successive amendments and corrections to Directive 89/556/EEC have incorporated into the original text. This consolidated version is for reference only.


Commission Decision 2006/168/EC of 4 January 2006 establishing the animal health conditions and the veterinary certification requirements for imports into the Community of bovine embryos and repealing Decision 2005/217/EC [Official Journal L 57 of 28.2.2006].

Last updated: 23.06.2011
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