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Food Safety

Legal basis

Legal foundations and the establishment of TRACES

Following the 1997 outbreak of classic swine fever in Europe, a report of the Court of Auditors (No 1/2000) prompted a resolution from the European Parliament (A5-396/2000) inviting the European Commission to improve the traceability of animal movements within the single market.

As a consequence, Commission Decision 2003/24/EC was adopted to allow for the development of a new computer system integrating the functions of the ANIMO and SHIFT systems into a single architecture, subsequently called “Traces” by Commission Decision 2003/623/EC.

Commission Decision 2004/292/EC made the system gradually compulsory for the Member States of the European Union as of 1st January 2005. This Decision imposed the entry of data from certificates relating to intra-Union trade in animals, common veterinary entry documents for all animals entering the Union and common veterinary entry documents for animal products entering the Union subject to special procedures.

What applies today

In order to prepare for the entry into application of the new Official Controls Regulation - Regulation (EU) 2017/625 - on 14 December 2019, and to further facilitate the administrative procedures for operators and competent authorities, the Commission developed a new version of TRACES, called TRACES-NT, enabling the entire process of production of documents to be performed electronically as of that date. According to that Regulation, TRACES had to be integrated as part of the Information Management System for Official Controls (IMSOC) aiming at supporting a more efficient management of official controls.

The Commission adopted on 30 September 2019 the IMSOC Regulation - Implementing Regulation 2019/1715 - with the objective to lay down the rules for the functioning of the IMSOC and its system components (TRACES, iRASFF, ADIS, EUROPHYT).

The new Official Controls Regulation has expanded the scope of TRACES to all the categories of animals and goods subject to official controls at the border control posts of the European Union. Hence, since 14 December 2019, the use of TRACES to issue the Common Health Entry Document (CHED) recording the outcome of official controls performed at EU border and decision taken on that basis has become mandatory for consignments of animals, animal products, plants and plant products, and food and feed of non-animal origin entering the Union.

As a result of the new Official Controls Regulation and the IMSOC Regulation, the Commission integrated into TRACES the functionalities of the EUROPHYT-Interceptions web-based system, developed some years ago by DG SANTE to help Member States notify interceptions of consignments of plants and plant products entering the Union or traded in the Union, that may present an imminent danger of introducing or spreading pests in the EU.

On 29 March 2021, the Commission adopted Implementing Regulation (EU) 2021/547 revising the IMSOC Regulation to address and update several key areas across the different components of the IMSOC. More in particular, the amendment outlined provisions regarding the procedures for the establishment and use of ADIS and EUROPHYT, and updated rules on the issuance of electronic certificates and documents in TRACES.

Legislation summary