The import of products of animal origin from third countries 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.
Veterinary checks are carried out on all consignments of foods of animal origin imported into the European Union from third countries, at designated facilities called Border Inspection Posts (BIPs). Currently, there are four BIPS approved in Ireland - Dublin Airport, Dublin Port, Shannon Airport and Rosslare Port (recently added for the purposes of Brexit). All consignments must comply with EU rules for the importation of such products, including requirements for the approval of establishments, for consignments to be accompanied by a veterinary health certificate and for advance notification of arrival. Upon arrival, all consignments must undergo documentary and identity checks in accordance with European regulations. Physical checks, including sampling of products, are carried at frequencies laid down in EU legislation. Import control procedures on products of animal and fish origin are highly prescriptive and are audited by the European Commission (DG SANTE) to ensure compliance. Inspection finding reports are published on the DG SANTE’s website.
Thirteen consignments, described as beef or beef products, comprising approximately 133 tonnes have been imported into Ireland from a variety of third countries (Australia, Uruguay, Botswana and Japan) since January 2018. This compares to total Irish beef production of over 500,000 tonnes in 2018. Checks on these consignments were carried out, in compliance with the rules described above, on behalf of Ireland, at the point of first arrival in the EU. The consignments were certified by the BIP inspector at the point of first arrival as being in compliance with EU requirements, and as such the consignments were released for onward travel to Ireland.
The CN codes under which beef and beef products travel internationally does not provide for a distinction to be made between meat coming from different categories of animals.