With the creation of the common internal market, the aim has been to achieve the freest possible trade in all areas and this has also been largely implemented. For the trade with animals and goods this means that in all member states of the European Union corresponding regulations for animal health and food safety have to be observed in order to prevent the spread of animal diseases and to ensure the health of humans, especially when consuming food of animal origin.
For national and intra-community trade as well as for the import of animals and goods of animal origin from so-called third countries (countries that do not belong to the European Union (EU)) the compliance with animal health, animal welfare and food safety regulations is controlled and ensured.
The task and goal is to:
- To prevent the spread and introduction of animal diseases that pose a risk to animals, but also to humans, such as rabies (dogs, cats) or foot-and-mouth disease (cattle). Animal diseases can be transmitted or introduced both by live animals and by animal products and commodities, such as meat and meat products, hides, feathers, hunting trophies, blood and blood products or feed.
- to ensure the health safety of foodstuffs. In the EU, uniform working and hygiene regulations apply to companies that process or handle food. In the case of meat and meat products, for example, inspections are carried out to check whether the goods originate from approved establishments in the EU or are imported from a third country that is permitted to deliver to the EU. In this context, checks are also carried out to ensure that the prescribed animal health and hygiene conditions are complied with. Particular attention is paid here to compliance with transport and storage conditions.
- in the case of live animals, to check whether transport takes place under conditions that respect animal welfare and to combat abuses.
When importing live animals and goods of animal origin from third countries, the checks are carried out by veterinarians at so-called border inspection posts. The EU has a network of these border inspection posts at all major points of entry into its territory by land, air and sea, all of which operate to the same specifications. They are headed by an official veterinarian. Bavaria has a border inspection post at Munich Airport, which is part of the Bavarian Food Safety and Veterinary Control Authority (KBLV).
In principle, the regulations on the movement of animals and goods apply not only to commercial imports, but also to private individuals carrying, for example, dogs, foodstuffs and other goods of animal origin. This must be observed especially for imports from third countries.