Milk products from third countries

Whilst every attempt is made to keep information notes current, import conditions may change and importers are responsible for checking the current requirements

Importer Information Note (IIN) – conditions of import of raw milk and dairy products from outside the EU (IIN MKDR/1)

1. Scope

The import of raw milk and dairy products from outside the EU.

‘Raw milk’ is defined in Regulation No (EC) 853/2004 as milk produced by the secretion of the mammary gland of farmed animals that has not been heated to more than 40 °C or undergone any treatment that has an equivalent effect.

‘Dairy products’ are defined as processed products resulting from the processing of raw milk or from the further processing of such processed products.

Please note that that the definitions above do not include colostrum and colostrum products (which are not eligible for import) and composite products, which are defined as food containing both products of plant origin and processed products of animal origin.

Imports of raw milk or dairy products (including products containing milk and milk products) are permitted provided that they:

  • come from an approved country or from an approved part of a country;
  • come from an EU approved plant; and
  • are accompanied by appropriate animal and public health certification

2. Production standards

In order to be able to meet these requirements, the raw milk or dairy products must have been produced in accordance with the conditions laid down in:

  • Council Directive 2002/99/EC laying down the animal health rules governing the production, processing, distribution and introduction of products of animal origin for human consumption;
  • Regulation (EC) No 178/2002 laying down the general principles and requirements of food law, establishing the European Food Safety Authority and laying down procedures in matters of food safety;
  • Regulation (EC) No 852/2004 on the hygiene of foodstuffs;
  • Regulation (EC) No 853/2004 laying down specific rules for food of animal origin;
  • Regulation (EC) No 854/2004 laying down specific rules for the organisation of official controls on products of animal origin intended for human consumption; and
  • Regulation (EC) No 882/2004 on official controls performed to ensure the verification of compliance with feed and food law, animal health and animal welfare rules

More detailed information on the hygiene legislation can be found on the Food Standards Agency website.

3. Country of origin

The approved third country list for imports of raw milk and dairy products from outside the EU can be found in Commission Regulation (EU) 605/2010.

In addition, the country of origin must be listed for milk in Commission Decision 2011/163/EU on the approval of residue monitoring plans submitted by third countries, in accordance with Council Directive 96/23/EC.

4. Approved establishments 

Consolidated lists of approved plants are available on the European Commission’s website.

5. Health certification/documentation

Consignments imported from third countries must be accompanied by a health certificate, which is signed by an official veterinarian of the veterinary authority in the country of origin.

  • Model health certificate ‘milk-RMP’ is for dairy products derived from raw milk for human consumption from third countries or parts thereof authorised in column A of Annex I of Commission Regulation (EU) 605/2010 (as amended).
  • Model health certificate ‘milk-HTB’ is for dairy products from the milk of cows, ewes, goats and buffaloes for human consumption from third countries or parts thereof authorised in column B of Annex I of Commission Regulation (EU) 605/2010 (as amended).
  • Model health certificate ‘milk-HTC’ is for dairy products for human consumption from third countries or parts thereof in column C of Annex I of Commission Regulation (EU) 605/2010 (as amended).
  • Model health certificate ‘milk-RM’ is for raw milk intended for human consumption from third countries or parts thereof in column A of Annex I of Commission Regulation (EU) 605/2010 (as amended).
  • Model health certificates ‘milk-RMP’, ‘milk-HTB’ and ‘milk-HTC’ are laid down in Annex I to Commission Regulation (EU) No 605/2010 (as amended) and model certificate ‘milk-RM’ is laid down in Annex II to Commission Regulation (EU) No 605/2010 (as amended).

Please note that consignments of raw milk and dairy products for which the relevant health certificates have been issued in accordance with Regulation (EU) No 605/2010 prior to entry into force of Regulation (EU) No 914/2011 may continue to be introduced into the Union for a transitional period until 30 November 2011.  This means that consignments of raw milk and dairy product certified on or after 4 October 2011, must be accompanied by the certificate laid down in Regulation (EU) No 914/2011.  Those certified before 4 October 2011 under the ‘old style’ certificate must be presented at the BIP for veterinary checks by 30 November 2011.

Guidance on how to complete a health certificate can be found in Commission Decision 2007/240/EC.

6. Transits

For dairy products for transit through/storage in the European Union, model certificate ‘milk-T/S’ should be used. 

7. Special arrangements for New Zealand

The health certification for milk and milk based products is laid down in Commission Decision 2003/56/EC. Information on recognition of sanitary measures is available in Commission Decision 2006/855/EC.

8. Health and identification marks

In accordance with Regulation (EC) No 853/2004, products of animal origin must bear an identification mark which shows the approval number of the approved premises together with an abbreviation for the country of origin.  The mark must be applied directly to the product or to the wrapping or packaging.

For dairy products they must bear an identification mark in accordance with the requirements of both Regulation (EC) No 853/2004 and No 854/2004 and the mark must be applied before the product leaves the establishment.

9. Veterinary checks

Consignments may only be imported through an approved Border Inspection Post (BIP). Following satisfactory checks at the BIP, consignments may then circulate freely within the EU. A list of BIPs is available on the Defra website. If the consignment does not meet the import requirements, the BIP may require that the consignment is re-exported or destroyed.

Consignments must be pre-notified in accordance with The Trade in Animals and Related Products Regulations 2011 for England (and equivalent legislation in the Devolved Administrations) to the relevant BIP before arrival in the country, by completion of Part I of the Common Veterinary Entry Document (CVED) or by electronic means, as agreed with the BIPs competent authority.

Consignments presented for import at the BIP must be accompanied by the original health certificate(s); faxed or photocopied certificates are not acceptable.

10. Norway/Liechtenstein/Switzerland

 The EU has International Agreements with Norway, Switzerland and Liechtenstein, which means that they implement EU veterinary legislation in relation to the movement of animal products.  Therefore animal products from Norway, Switzerland and Liechtenstein must comply with the same requirements applying to animal products from Member States.

11. Safeguard measures

These notes do not cover situations where emergency safeguard action has been taken, at very short notice, to prohibit or restrict the importation of certain products from certain countries following an outbreak of serious disease in those countries may not be covered. Importers are advised to contact the Specialist Service Centre for Imports (see below) to check if any action has been taken in relation to the current status of any particular country. Details of safeguard measures can also be found in our Declarations and Customer Information Notes.

Alternatively you can keep up to date with amendments to legislation by checking the European Commission’s website.

12. European Union legislation

Consolidated texts, which integrate the basic instruments of Union legislation with their amendments and corrections in a single, non-official document, are available. Each consolidated text contains a list of all legal documents taken into account for its construction.

Texts provided in this section are intended for information only. Please note that these texts have no legal value. For legal purposes please refer to the texts published in the ‘Official Journal of the European Union’.
For non-consolidated legislation, please use the simple search option on the European Commission’s website.

13. Contact for general information on import requirements

14. Contacts for other important advice and guidance

Importers should note that the information given relates only to animal health and public health conditions of import. It does not give guidance on other conditions that may need to be met.

The information sheet gives details of other organisations you may also need to consult.

Page last modified: 13 August 2013