Import controls

Principle

The regulation (EC) No. 882/2004 governs official inspections carried out to ensure the conformity with, among other things, the legislation on animal feed, at all stages of production and distribution. In particular, it provides for regular official inspections of animal feed of non-animal original imported into the European Community. Special attention is paid to inspections for the import of animal feed which may present an increased risk of contamination through the regulation (EC) No.669/2009 or regulations/implementation decisions introducing emergency measures.

In order to ensure the effective organisation of official inspections, points of entry are designated for the European Community (e.g. DPE, DPI). Before being introduced into Belgium, every consignment of animal feed must be notified at one of these entry points so that an official inspection can be carried out.

Official inspections include at least one document inspection and, if necessary, an identity inspection and a physical inspection.

Unless legislation imposes the contrary, once all the inspections have been carried out, the transport of the animal feed to the destination is authorised while awaiting the analysis results.

In the case of the presence of prohibited and/or undesirable substances being found in the products destined for animal feed, the products concerned may be seized or confiscated and destroyed, subjected to special treatment or sent outside of the Community at the expense of the owner of the suspect batch.

In accordance with European regulation (EC) No 183/2005, manufacturers of additives and premixtures in third countries must have a representative located in the European Union in order to export to a Member State. The establishments situated in Belgium, which are currently representatives, are shown in the attached table, in alphabetic order, with an indication of the manufacturers and the products which are represented (link).

Prior notification

On the basis of the legislation in force, the introduction into the Belgian territory of each consignment of animal feed from third countries must be subject to a prior declaration to the FASFC before being introduced.

This declaration concerns products:

  • Destined to be circulated in Belgium,
  • Destined to be circulated in another MS,
  • The destination of which is not yet known but which will be stocked at least temporarily in Belgium in a warehouse under customs supervision.

This declaration must be sent for each batch by the animal feed sector's operator that is responsible for the batch at the point of entry concerned.

The prior declaration must be accompanied by the following information. A copy of the documents accompanying the consignment, for example: the certificate of origin, the Bill of Lading (for sea freight), the Airway Bill (for air freight), according to the case, the results of the analysis as well as the documents required by virtue of the legislation concerning animal feed (for example, health certificate, etc.) should be enclosed with this form during the notification procedure. For introduction into Belgium, only documents in French, Dutch and English are accepted. It must be possible to see a connection between the different documents submitted, for example via the batch number.

The label(s) for animal feed, the specifications for each animal feed, etc., making reference to the type of product (additive, pre-mixture, raw ingredient, complete feed or supplement), as well as the composition of the animal feed (full list of ingredients and additives with their proportion in the feed; full name of these substances without any abbreviations; full composition of premixtures used).

Concerning the genetically modified nature of animal feed imported which contains or constitutes GMOs, this information must also be communicated in the notification. Information concerning the GMO type may be found on the invoice, on a document accompanying the batch (for example specifications, GMO certificate, etc.). In the absence of information concerning the genetically modified type of animal feed, the batch will be considered as a conventional foodstuff (non-GMO).

The manager may sub-contract this notification step to an intermediary that will represent it (for example: the manager of a customs agency, etc.), but it is held responsible if the notification is not submitted or if it is incorrect or incomplete.

Official inspections

Three types of official inspections are provided for in the legislation; document inspection, identity inspection and physical inspection.

  • The document inspection is carried out for each consignment on the basis of the documents obtained for the notification.
  • The identity inspection is generally carried out following the frequency defined in the frame of the annual inspections programme. When specific inspections are planned, the animal feed concerned is inspected according to the frequency of inspections defined in the legislation.
  • The physical inspection is generally carried out randomly following the frequency defined in the frame of the annual inspection programme. When specific inspections are planned, the animal feed concerned are inspected according to the frequency of inspections.

Inspection certificate

Once all the inspections have been carried out and the results are known, the FASFC completes the notification form. The original of the form accompanies the batch during its ongoing journey until its arrival at the destination indicated in the afore-mentioned form.

Unless the batch is destined for another MS, the inspection certificate is always communicated to the Belgian customs authorities.

The batch:

  • May be released by customs,
  • Must be stored under customs surveillance while awaiting the identity inspection and the physical inspection,
  • Must remain under customs surveillance while awaiting the results of sampling, or,
  • May not be released.

In the case of the presence of prohibited and/or undesirable substances being observed in the products destined for animal feed, the products concerned may be seized or confiscated and one of the following measures taken:

  • Order for the destruction of the animal feed,
  • Order for submission for special treatment,
  • Order for consignment outside of the EU,
  • Order for use for purposes other than those originally planned.

When the batch is destined for another MS, the duly completed notification form must be made available to the customs authorities of the destination MS when declaring the batches for release into free circulation.

In the frame of the inspections of animal feed subject to specific inspections, the FASFC may authorise the continued transport of the consignment while awaiting the results of the physical inspections, namely the analysis results, provided that it informs the destination's competent authority. In this case, a certified copy of the notification form accompanies the consignment while awaiting the results. While waiting, the consignment remains under the control of the competent authorities.

Products introduced into EU territory via a point of entry located in another MS and released into free circulation in Belgium

The competent authority of the introduction MS must issue a document certifying to the inspections carried out in accordance with the provisions of the regulation (EC) No. 882/2004.

For free circulation in Belgium, the operator must send this document by e-mail to its LCU with, if applicable, a certified copy of the laboratory's analysis results.

Last updated: 08/10/2019