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Importing Food and Drink Products to the EU ? Learn to Comply With the EU TRACES System

A blog about how you can use the TRACES system for your food exporting business

If you are the owner of a business that imports food and drink products into the EU then you will have to adhere to stringent regulations. These regulations are in place to protect public health, animal food security and plant protection. Most businesses may well be aware of this obligation by now. But the question, 'how do I import my products?', remains. The EU's TRACES system is designed to track products from anywhere in the world and ensure safe delivery for consumers.

If you're importing food and drink products into the EU, you'll need to comply with the EU TRACES system. What do you need to do? Here is the essence of what you need to know to get you on your way.

What is TRACES?

The EU has implemented a variety of programmes to assure the safety of imported food.

Traces (Trade Control and Expert System) is an online system that regulates and monitors animal, plant, and food imports into the EU. Its primary duty is to guarantee that non-EU items conform with EU animal health, plant health, and food safety rules before being admitted into the EU.

How does it function?

TRACES, also known as Trade Regulate and Expert System, is a mechanism that enables authorities to monitor and control the movement of commodities to maintain food safety, and animal and plant health. TRACES also plays a vital role in facilitating commerce by giving the required assurance that imported items conform with the relevant EU standards.

What do businesses need to do with TRACES?

TRACES is also a secure website that allows authorised enterprises from non-EU countries to register their exports to the EU. So, if you are interested in sending food or drink to the EU, chances are that you must input information on the commodities they seek to export, as well as give proof that the goods comply with EU laws for each category of product.

Companies must also submit information about where and how their products were grown or manufactured, including any pesticides used on crops, for example.

Clear roles for everyone

Both commercial enterprises and government entities can use the system. And that is the point! The EU TRACES system is, in fact, a one-stop-shop for sanitary and phytosanitary certification of EU exports. Food importers and exporters, veterinary services, and other relevant bodies utilise it jointly and collaboratively all over the world.

EU TRACES makes certification easier for all parties involved:

  • Exporters can request certifications online instead of visiting their local veterinary service or embassy. Exporters can also review their exported consignments and download certifications.

  • Veterinary services may give certifications online and on time, lowering the expense of inspection visits. Veterinary services may also study consignments being exported from their nation and submit fresh certification requests to the EU.

  • Competent authorities in the EU can check to see what food has been contaminated.

  • Competent authorities in the EU can examine what food has been imported and what health certifications have been granted for those consignments. The mechanism enables them to trade data with non-EU countries.

Can you give an example?

For example, in order to import meat or dairy goods from non-EU nations into the EU, the exporter must first get a health certificate from the exporting country's competent body for each consignment.

This document will then be forwarded to a competent authority in the EU Member State that the importer has designated as their place of entry.

If this method is not used, certificates cannot be validated against EU legislation requirements, which may result in border refusals or significant delays.

The TRACES technology also enables businesses like importers and exporters to track all of their goods along the supply chain. The TRACES system guarantees that certifications are validated before items enter the EU.

Meet CHED - No CHED, No Import

Imported food and drink into the EU must be accompanied by a Common Health Entry Document (CHED), which is an electronic document, in order to enter the EU. This CHED has to be created in TRACES and may only be filled out online by the exporter and/or importer.

The information in this document will need to be confirmed by the country's health or plant protection agencies from where the items are shipped.

If everything checks out, the shipment is ready for export.


Traces is an EU- wide computerised information management system that facilitates analysis and rapid exchange of trade data concerning food. It provides the platform to better monitor and control food safety, animal and plant health, and animal welfare throughout the European Union. Exporters and importers of non-EU foods need to use it to enter the EU.

How we can help

Do you require a TRACES account? Is it necessary for you to understand how to utilise it? Do you wish to generate a CHED or export a Health Certificate? Do you have any questions about how to compete for a veterinarian health certificate? Don't look any further. Get a Customs Manager to assist you; we are specifically trained in exporting health certificates and TRACES.

Stay up to date with all matters SPS & Export Health Certification

We keep an eye on changes in EU SPS topics and keep our customers up to date on veterinary controls, TRACES, Export Health Certificates, and CHEDs. You may find it here

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