The importation rules for milk and milk products for human consumption solely govern the introduction of those products into the EU from third countries.
1. Milk and milk products for import into the EU must fulfil certain basic animal health criteria for import into the EU. This ensures that milk and milk products also conform to the animal health requirements laid down in Community legislation and is intended to safeguard the animal health situation in the EU. Hence
- all third countries wishing to export milk and milk products into the EU must be included in the list of countries authorised for the export of milk and milk products as laid down in Commission Decision 95/340/EC. This indicates that the country has undergone an inspection by the Commission's services, and has demonstrated that they fulfil the basic animal and public health requirements as laid down in Council Directive 92/46/EEC of 16 June 1992
The animal health requirements for imports of milk and milk products are laid down in Council Directive 2002/99/EC of 16 December 2002. This Directive lays down the animal health rules governing the production, processing, distribution and introduction of products of animal origin for human consumption and establishes the animal health guarantees needed for the trade in these products of animal origin. However Member States do not need to implement this Directive until 1 January 2005.
2. In addition specific requirements for milk and milk products are provided for import into the EU. These include the treatment requirements used in the manufacture of milk and milk product. The treatments are specified in Commission Decision 95/340/EC and are related to the animal health situation in the exporting third country. The importation of raw milk and milk based products made from raw milk is allowed only from third countries with a high health status, that means as good as in the EU. From countries in which the animal health situation is not so good (i.e. vaccination against FMD) only the importation of heat treated milk and milk based products made from heat treated milk is allowed.
There is also a requirement that all establishments must be authorised to produce milk and milk products. A list of authorised establishments is maintained in Commission Decision 97/252/EC .
3. When a third country or part thereof has been listed in Council Decision 95/340/EEC, then it is approved in principle for export milk and milk products to the EU. However, further steps are needed before exports of milk and milk products can take place. An assessment of the specific disease situation is carried out, and on the basis of that assessment, the specific treatment requirements during the manufacture of milk and milk products to minimise potential animal health disease risks (e.g. Foot and Mouth Disease) are laid down for each third country or part thereof.
4. All milk and milk products for import into the EU must be accompanied by a health certificate released by the official veterinarian of the exporting country. The health certificates for importation of milk and milk products are laid down in Commission Decision 95/343/EC .
5. Milk and milk products entering the Community are inspected at a Border Inspection Post (BIP) (as listed in of 7 December 2001) where Member States'official veterinarians ensure they fulfil all the requirements provided for in the European legislation. ( Council Directive 97/78/EC of 18 December 1997 lays down the principles governing the organisation of veterinary checks on products of animals origin entering the Community from third countries).
6. As is the case for fresh meat, third countries must also comply with certain public health requirements in order to export milk and milk products. For example, a country is required to have an approved ' residue' plan. Details of the public health requirements can be found [ HERE].
A summary providing ' General guidance for third country authorities on procedures to be followed when importing live animals and animal products into the EU' can be found [ HERE]