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EU Veterinary Border: SPS measures on Import - The What, Why and How!

(FREE) Find out why and how the EU carries our import controls for live animals and products of animal origin (POAO)

What is a Veterinary Border?

A Veterinary border control is a key factor to ensure that the live animals and animal products entering the European Union are safe and meet the specific import conditions laid down in the EU legislation.

Official controls on imported products

The European Union is a major importer of food and feed. Strict import rules with respect to food and feed hygiene, consumer safety and animal health status aim at assuring that all imports fulfil the same high standards as products from the EU itself. Import controls are crucial in verifying compliance of food and feed products with relevant requirements.

The current approach to import controls varies according to the sector.

Mandatory channelling of products to border control entities and uniform frequencies for checks apply to

  • live animals,

  • products of animal origin,

  • plants and plant products

because of the risk those commodities might pose in relation to animal or plant health respectively.

What if my products do NOT contain animal origin parts or plants?

The vast majority of other products of relevance for the food chain are not channelled through specific border entities and don't need to undergo mandatory checks prior to their entry into the EU. It concerns for example feed and food which are of non-animal origin - including certain composite products, additives and other substances that might impact the characteristics of food and feed, or materials intended to enter into contact with food.

But what if there is a temporary risk...

One notable exception is food and feed of non-animal origin which is temporarily subject to mandatory border controls due to the existence of an identified risk (i.e. the products listed under Regulation (EU) 2019/1793)

Risk and BCPs

The imported live animals and animal products present the highest level of risk as they can transmit serious human and animal diseases. Therefore, it is necessary to subject them to specific controls at their point of entry, so-called Border Control Posts (BCPs).

The lists of designated veterinary BCPs are available in:

  • For the BCPs of EU countries: see contact details of BCPs

  • For the BCPs of Iceland and Norway: see contact details of BCPs

  • For the BCPs of Switzerland: Decision No 1/2008 of the joint veterinary committee set up by the agreement between the European Community and the Swiss Confederation on trade in agricultural products of 23 December 2008 regarding the amendment of appendices 2, 3, 4, 5, 6 and 10 to Annex 11 to the agreement.


A consignment of live animals or animal products can only enter into the EU, if it has satisfactorily undergone the specific checks and a Common Health Entry Document (CHED) is issued from TRACES (TRAde Control and Expert System)

TRACES is a centralised database that allows the monitoring of consignments of live animals and animal products checked at the BCPs. TRACES may automatically exchange data on import controls with customs authorities.

You can view additional content on TRACES here:


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