Rådsdirektiv 97/78/EF av 18. desember 1997 om om fastsettelse av prinsippene for organisering av veterinærkontrollene av produkter som innføres til Fellesskapet fra tredjestater
BAKGRUNN (fra Kommisjonens faktaark, engelsk utgave)
Veterinary and zootechnical checks: live animals and products from third countries
Products from third countries are subject to checks to protect the health of citizens and animals inside the Community. This Directive sets out the legal framework governing these checks.
This Directive applies to products from third countries. It is supplemented by Regulation (EC) No 882/2004 on official controls carried out on food and feed.
The Directive originally used the term "product" to refer only to food and feed of animal origin. Under the 2004 Regulation, this concept is extended to cover all food and feed, including products of plant origin. The Directive also defines the concepts of "documentary check", "physical check", "import", "consignment", "border inspection post", etc.
A documentary check by the veterinary staff of the border inspection post or by the competent authorities must be carried out for each consignment of products coming from third countries. The products then undergo a physical check at the border inspection post situated at or in the immediate vicinity of an entry point into the European Union (EU). The Directive lays down control rules allowing the authorisation or refusal of access for these products into EU territory.
The Directive also lays down control rules to be followed by the competent authorities for the admission of products to a free zone, free warehouse or customs warehouse, the product requirements and the conditions to be met by the border inspection post.
When the products are not to be released for consumption on the territory of the Member State that carried out the check, the official veterinarian responsible for the border inspection post issues the competent authorities of the country of destination with all the certificates and statements concerning the products and the results of any laboratory tests.
The Directive sets the conditions for the transport of products from a third country to another third country.
The Directive provides for an exemption for products which:
* form part of travellers' personal luggage and are intended for their personal consumption;
* are sent in small consignments to private individuals;
* are intended for consumption by persons, i.e. goods on board means of transport operating internationally;
* have been subjected to heat treatment in a hermetically sealed container with an Fo value of 3.00 or more;
* are sent as trade samples.
The Directive lays down the procedure to be followed where the checks show that the product does not meet the conditions laid down in Community legislation, or where such checks reveal an irregularity.
If a phenomenon liable to present a serious threat to animal or public health, or if a serious animal health or public health reason so warrants, the Commission may suspend, or set special conditions in respect of, imports coming from part or all of the third country concerned.
If the Member State of destination establishes non-compliance with this Directive, it shall immediately inform the Member State through which the products were imported. Where repeated non-compliance with this Directive is ascertained, the competent authority of the Member State of destination must inform the Commission and the other Member States.
In the event of non-compliance with legislation on food and feed, the measures provided for by Regulation (EC) No 882/2004 will apply, particularly the possibility of destroying or returning the products in question, or of subjecting them to any other appropriate treatment.
Each Member State is to draw up a programme for the exchange of officials empowered to carry out checks on products coming from third countries.
The Commission is assisted in its task by the Standing Committee on the Food Chain and Animal Health.
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