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Imports of products of animal origin

In order to facilitate trade in animal products while ensuring a high level of food safety, the European Union is abolishing veterinary checks at internal frontiers, reinforcing checks at the point of origin and arranging for checks on arrival at destination.


Council Directive 89/662/EEC of 11 December 1989 concerning veterinary checks in intra-Community trade with a view to the completion of the internal market [See amending acts].


This Directive applies to the animal products covered by the Directives listed in Annex A to this Directive. With effect from 1 January 2006, this Annex is being amended by Directive 2004/41/EC so as to incorporate the new provisions of the hygiene package. Directive 91/496/EEC applies to checks on animals from third countries.

This Directive lays down detailed rules governing checks at the point of origin, involving the reinforcement of the checks to be performed by the establishments of origin and official veterinarians designated by the competent authorities. These checks cover the obtaining, marking and labelling of products and the provision of all necessary documents or certificates in accordance with Community rules for the destination in question. Procedures for optional imports are also defined. In addition, consigning Member States must take the necessary measures to ensure compliance with veterinary requirements and to impose penalties for infringements.

The Directive also lays down procedures for checks on arrival at destination, which take the form of non-discriminatory spot checks; where there are grounds for suspecting an infringement, checks may be carried out during transportation. The rules to be followed by consignees, the procedures governing checks at points of entry into the Community of products from non-member countries, and the procedures to be applied in cases where a check reveals an irregularity or a serious threat to animal or human health are laid down. As regards animals from third countries, Directive 91/496/EEC also lays down the procedure for veterinary checks and tightens up the checks to be carried out by the competent authorities.

Directives 89/662/EEC and 91/496/EEC set out the measures to be taken if a zoonosis or other disease or phenomenon liable to present a serious threat to animal or human health occurs. As for intra-Community trade, the Member State of origin is initially responsible for these measures, and the rules to be observed by the Member State of destination are laid down. The Commission may also take action. As regards animals from third countries, the Commission may, as a precaution where warranted by a serious animal or public health reason, ban imports or lay down special conditions for them.

Directive 91/496/EEC also lays down the conditions that must be met by border inspection posts. Furthermore, it requires the Commission to introduce a computerised data-processing system linking the border inspection services and its own veterinary authorities.

Directive 92/67/EEC finalises the introduction of the rules laid down in the present Directive.


ActEntry into forceDeadline for transposition in the Member StatesOfficial Journal

Directive 89/662/EEC

31.12.1992 (Greece)
OJ L 395, 30.12.1989
Amending act(s)Entry into forceDeadline for transposition in the Member StatesOfficial Journal

Directive 91/67/EEC

4.2.199131.12.1992OJ L 046, 19.2.1991

Directive 91/496/EEC

19.8.19911.12.1991 (Articles 6, 13, 18, 21)
1.7.1992 (other provisions)
OJ L 268, 24.9.1991

Directive 92/45/EEC

20.7.19921.1.1994OJ L 268, 14.9.1992

Directive 92/67/EEC

28.7.19921.7.1992OJ L 268, 14.9.1992

Directive 92/118/EEC

06.1.19931.1.193 (Articles 12, 17)
1.1.1994 (other provisions)
OJ L 62, 15.3.1993

Regulation (EC) No° 806/2003

05.6.2003-OJ L 122, 16.5.2003

Directive 2004/41/EC

30.4.2003-OJ L 157, 30.4.2004


Commission Decision 2008/855/EC of 3 November 2008 concerning animal health control measures relating to classical swine fever in certain Member States [Official Journal L 302 of 13.11.2008].
This Decision lays down control measures in relation to classical swine fever in Bulgaria or in certain regions of Germany, France, Hungary and Slovakia. It shall apply without prejudice to the plans for the eradication of classical swine fever and the emergency vaccination plans against that disease approved by the Commission.

Council Directive 90/425/EEC of 26 June 1990 concerning veterinary and zootechnical checks applicable in intra-Community trade in certain live animals and products with a view to the completion of the internal market [Official Journal L 224 of 18.8.1990].
This Directive provides for the abolishing of veterinary and zootechnical checks at the European Union’s internal frontiers and the reinforcing of checks at the point of origin and at destination.

Last updated: 28.01.2009
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