Dairy Product Labelling Mix-up Causes Delays

EU - Dairy shipments from the US to EU countries, including the Netherlands and Poland, have been held by inspectors because of a lack of clarity in European Commission (EC) documentation requirements on seal and container numbers.
calendar icon 4 January 2008
clock icon 2 minute read

USDA Foreign Agricultural Service

Now the USDA Foreign Agricultural Service is advising the exporters to remain in close contact with their importers over the documentation for dairy products in order to avoid clearance delays.

FAS said the European Commission requires that the date on the EU Health Certificate is endorsed by USDA’s Agricultural Marketing Service (AMS) is on or prior to the date of shipment for dairy product exports from the United States.

The date requirement is not in question and AMS recommends that exporters apply for the certificate at least five days prior to shipment.

Dairy products exported to the EU must be labelled with the EU plant number and the country of origin.

Because these are official EC regulations, FAS says their offices in Europe will have difficulty providing exporters with any assistance on shipments that do not meet these requirements.

Certain countries in the European Union are also requiring that container and seal numbers are listed on the AMS endorsed EU Health Certificate, FAS says. These countries include Bulgaria, Denmark (container number only), Finland, the Netherlands and Poland.

"Exporters should confer with their importers on specific country requirements," says FAS.

FAS Europe offices in countries experiencing dairy clearance problems and FAS USEU Brussels have explained the challenge of meeting the certificate date, container and seal number requirements to government officials and the EC.

The Foreign Agricultural Service’s USEU office called for clarification from the EC in November last year on whether the seal and container numbers are voluntary or obligatory on these health certificates.

"We will provide an update on the requirements once the EC responds in early January 2008," says FAS.

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