Food of non-animal origin

Introduction

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

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

Unlike for products of animal origin, no systematic checks are carried out on products of plant origin and only in case of safeguard measures a health certificate is mandatory as described in the respective legislation. In order to protect public health the EU has established increased checks for a series of products/non-EU country combinations.

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

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

Official controls

Introduction

On the one hand, the EU has drawn up numerous requirements for very specific products originating from specific third countries via the so-called safeguard and emergency measures (General Food Law: art.53 of Commission Regulation (EC) No 178/2004).

Commission Regulation (EC) No 669/2009 on the other hand provides for increased checks of high risk food (and feed).

The list of foodstuffs to be checked is set out in the Annex to the Regulation. This list is reviewed every two years and amended as necessary. 

These products may only enter the EU territory via the Designated Points of Entry (DPE). 

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

Inspections and decision

Pre-notification

Each consignment of foodstuffs subject to the legislation (provide a link to the legislation) must be notified by an interested party to the FASFC at the Designated Point of Entry (DPE) where the consignment will arrive. This notification must be made in advance of the consignment’s estimated time of arrival on EU territory. The pre-notification must be submitted by means of a Common Entry Document (laid down in Commission Regulation (EC) No 669/2009), the CED, of which Part I, with the exception of I.2, is filled out completely and correctly. For each consignment a CED must be drawn up via the TRACES system. The deadlines are set out in the following table:

Commission Regulation 669/2009, Commission Implementing Regulations 884/2014, 2015/175 and 2018/1660, Commission Implementing Decision 2011/884

At least 1 working day in advance of the physical arrival at the designated point of entry

Commission Implementing Regulation 2016/6

At least 2 working days in advance/ prior to the physical arrival of the consignment

Documentary checks

Each consignment of the products listed in Annex I to Commission Regulation (EC) N° 669/2009 shall be subjected to a documentary check on the basis of the submitted CED. The purpose of this check is to verify the accuracy of the data. However, as there are no health documents accompanying the consignment, this check will often have to be combined with an identity check.

Specific to the safeguard measures is the presence of  documents that are required by law to accompany the consignment: health certificate, analysis results, declaration of conformity. These documents and the submitted CVED shall be subject to verification.

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 documents. These include, among other things, the container number, the seal numbers, the country of origin, the product description, the shipment codes, the approval numbers of the production establishments and the product labels. 

If a physical check is decided upon, both of these checks allow us to sample the correct product and have the sample analysed.

Physical checks

Depending on the frequencies imposed by the legislation, the physical checks may or may not include product samplings; if the consignment is visibly contaminated, it will be rejected immediately. 

Decision

After the checks have been carried out, the person in charge of the DPE 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.

A rejected consignment shall be eligible for re-exportation, destruction or special treatment, after which it is either admitted or given another purpose.

The person responsible for the consignment shall receive a CED signed and stamped by the person in charge of the DPE.

Last updated: 20/09/2019