Food of animal origin


Products of animal origin for human consumption (HC) are imported into the European Union (EU) from all over the world.

To prevent risks to animal and public health, the EU has drawn up an extensive and highly harmonized set of regulations.

Products of animal origin undergo systematic checks and a health certificate is mandatory as described in the respective legislation.

You can find detailed information on the specific pages of DG Health and Food Safety.

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

Import controls


At the approved border inspection posts, after pre-notification to the FASFC, animal products for human consumption (HC) and composite products 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 or a vessel authorized or registered to export to the European Union, in so far as this is required by Community legislation. Finally, the approval of a residue plan submitted by the third country may also be a requirement for the product in question. 

Inspections and decision


Each consignment of animal products for human consumption must be notified by an interested party to the FASFC at the BIP of arrival at least one working day in advance of its estimated time of arrival on EU territory. 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 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. 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 products for 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 1%, 10%, 20% or 50% of the consignments shall be 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 requirements, samples may also be taken for laboratory testing. 


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 document (or an original copy in the case of transit).  

Company lists

Products of animal origin for human consumption (HC) and composite products can enter the European Union (EU) on condition that the non-EU country and the company that produces the product of animal origin HC are authorized to export to the EU. Lists of companies must be kept by the third country concerned and published on the website of DG Health and Food Safety.

The lists of third countries that have permission to export products of animal origin HC and composite products to the EU have been included in the European import rules applicable to the product. On the website of DG Health and Food Safety this legislation can be found in the sections on the left-hand side.

The legislation itself can be consulted under ‘Authorized countries’.

Under ‘Authorized establishments’ you can find the list of companies that have permission to export. These are included for all products on the page.


Last updated: 20/09/2019