Import controls

Introduction

At the approved border inspection posts, after pre-notification to the FASFC, animal by-products for non-human consumption (NHC) are subjected to the checks included in Directive 97/78 and Regulation 136/2004.

There is a comprehensive body of Community legislation in place, which deals with veterinary border control.

On the website of DG Health and Food Safety there are numerous links to the website containing the regulations of the European Union.

Import regulations are highly harmonized across the EU. This means that rules are laid down at EU level which apply to the import of products in all Member States of the European Union. These are rules concerning the veterinary certificate referring to a third country or a part of a third country authorized to export to the European Union. The certificate also applies to an establishment authorized or registered to export to the European Union, in so far as this is required by Community legislation.

Animal-by-products and derived products that are mentioned in annex I to Decision 2007/275 need to undergo veterinary checks (e.g. pig hair, bird skins, rendered fat, processed animal proteins). These veterinary checks are carried out at the border inspection post according to the rules laid down in Directive 97/78/EG and Regulation (EU) 136/2004. A veterinary check comprises three steps: a documentary check, an identity check and a physical check. A documentary check is obligatory for each consignment, while a reduced frequency can be applied for physical checks depending on the harmonization status of the third country of origin (Decision 94/360/EC).

  • “documentary check” means the examination of the veterinary certificate(s) or veterinary documents(s) or other document(s) accompanying a consignment
  • “Identity check” means a check by visual inspection to ensure that the veterinary certificate(s) or veterinary document(s) or other document(s) correspond with the products
  • “Physical check” means a check on the product itself, which may include checks on packaging and temperature and also sampling and laboratory testing.

Before arrival in the EU, the animal-by-products and derived products need to be notified to the FASFC at the border inspection post (BIP) where the products will enter the EU. To this end the Common Veterinary Entry Document needs to be completed via the TRACES system. The requirements of the CVED are outlined in Regulation (EC) 136/2004.

The Belgian conditions apply to animal by-products for non-human consumption for which there are no harmonized regulations. As for those by-products for which EU legislation imposes prior authorization by the FASFC, the import conditions for non-harmonized products are listed on the import authorization. The list of products concerned and the application form to obtain an import authorization can be found here. The instructions for the import of product samples can be found on the website of the FASFC.

Inspections and decision

Pre-notification

Each consignment of animal by-products for non-human consumption must be pre-notified by an interested party to the FASFC at the BIP of arrival at least in advance of its estimated time of arrival. This pre-notification must be made by means of a Common Veterinary Entry Document, the CVED, via the TRACES system. A CVED, the model of which is laid down in Commission Regulation (EC) No 136/2004, must be drawn up for each consignment,

Documentary checks

Each consignment is subjected to a documentary check. To this end, the original veterinary certificate (if applicable) and the CVED accompanying the consignment must be submitted to the BIP at which the consignment arrives in the EU. Among others things, it is assessed whether the veterinary document is an original document, whether it complies with the model prescribed by the EU and whether the consignment originates from an approved country and an approved establishment (if applicable).

Identity checks

Each consignment is subjected to an identity check. During the identity check it is established whether the consignment details correspond to the information on the accompanying veterinary certificate (if applicable). These include the container number, the seal numbers, the country of origin, the product description, the shipment codes and the approval numbers of the production establishments and the product labels.

Physical checks

In the case of animal by-products for non-human consumption the physical checks shall be carried out in the specified cases. However, harmonized products are subject to a reduced frequency of physical checks or so-called ‘reduced checks’ in accordance with Commission Decision 94/360/EC. Depending on the product and the third country of origin between 1% and 10% of the consignments are subjected to physical checks. 

The EU has concluded an equivalence agreement with countries such as Canada and New Zealand which provides for a further reduced frequency of the checks.

During the physical checks packages are opened in order to subject the products to certain tests, such as a temperature check, organoleptic tests, etc. Depending on the regulations, samples may also be taken for laboratory testing.

Decision

After the checks have been carried out, the BIP veterinarian will make a decision regarding the consignment.  The consignment may be either accepted or rejected. If the consignment is allowed into the country, it is thereby released for free circulation throughout the entire European Union (at least from a veterinary point of view).

A rejected consignment shall be eligible for re-exportation, destruction or admission for other purposes, whether or not following a special treatment.

The person responsible for the consignment shall receive a CVED signed and stamped by the official veterinarian, as well as a certified copy of the veterinary certificate (or an original copy in the case of transit) (if applicable).

Last updated: 08/10/2019