The import of products of animal origin from third countries into the EU is governed by a comprehensive and robust legislative framework laid down at EU level, controlled by Member States in the first instance, and audited by the European Commission’s Directorate General for Health and Food Safety to ensure compliance with all of the relevant food safety standards.
The legislation imposes health and supervisory requirements designed to ensure that imported products meet standards equivalent to those required for production and trade between Member States. Third countries and establishments in such countries from which product may be imported must, in the first instance, meet the criteria for 'listing' by the EU.
Consignments of products of animal origin, including beef, being imported into the European Union from such Third Countries and establishments must be presented to an approved Border Inspection Post (BIP) to undergo a range of veterinary checks to ensure that they pose no danger to human or animal health before they can be released into free circulation. In Ireland, these controls are carried out by staff of my Department and each BIP is under the responsibility of an Official Veterinarian of the Department.
The criteria for beef exports from Ireland to third countries differs from country to country. Beef exports are only certified by a DAFM Official Veterinarian when they fulfil the relevant criteria laid down by the particular third country in question.