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Food Safety

International affairs

Sanitary and phytosanitary measures

The European Union, as a major global trader of food and feed, has entered into various international trade agreements and contributed to the development of international standards which underpin food law.

EU has been involved in cooperation with WTO and the main international standard setting bodies active in the area of food safety and animal health.

As a world's biggest importer and exporter of food, EU has also concluded a series of trade agreements regarding sanitary and phytosanitary measures with single countries or groups of countries from outside the EU.

You will also find a section dedicated to sanitary and phytosanitary issues relating to EU exports to the Russian Federation.

Environmental and animal welfare standards for imported agri-food products

The European Commission has published, on 3rd June 2022, a report on the application of EU health and environmental standards to imported agricultural and agri-food products.

The report, a request by the European Parliament and the Council, explains the tools the EU has at its disposal to promote production sustainability standards in imports.

With the EU as the world’s third largest importer of agri-food products, the report shows that we can raise health, environmental and animal welfare standards worldwide.

The report notably identifies three areas of action:

  • Multilateral fora,
  • Bilateral cooperation and trade agreements;
  • Autonomous EU measures

Please read the report on the application of EU health and environmental standards to imported agricultural and agri-food products, the public consultation report and read the Daily News here.

EU and US trade of bivalve molluscs

From the end of February 2022, the trade of molluscan shellfish - such as mussels, clams, oysters and scallops – will resume between the EU and the US. Two EU Member States (Spain and the Netherlands) will be allowed to export molluscan shellfish to the US, whilst two American states (Massachusetts and Washington) can do the same to the EU.

In 2015, both sides carried out on-the-spot audits and, following years of discussions, the Commission and the FDA recommended that the food safety systems for the production of raw bivalve molluscs in the two US states (Massachusetts and Washington) and the two EU Member States can be considered equivalent.

The EU therefore added the two US States to the list of third countries from which bivalve molluscs can be imported into the EU.

The FDA, on its part, published a Notice in the US Federal Register informing the public and stakeholders about the forthcoming opening of the American market to the import of EU bivalve molluscs from Spain and the Netherlands.

View the regulation and annex

Further information