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Veterinary rules for importing food of animal origin.
Import permit from the FVO
In principle, no import permits from the FVO are needed unless stated to the contrary elsewhere. Exceptions apply to goods for which no standardised import regulations are specified (such as sample consignments for laboratories). Trade with foods from third countries is checked by the border veterinary service when the goods enter the country and by the cantonal laboratories (Links > Lebensmittelkontrolle der Schweiz (in German)) once the goods are in the country.
Registration and licence obligations in Switzerland
The business of the Swiss importer must be registered with the cantonal chemist (Links > Lebensmittelkontrolle der Schweiz (in German)) or must have a cantonal licence number (issued by the cantonal chemist). The business must registered in the electronic TRACES system by the canton. In addition, the importer must be registered in TRACES by the FVO as an importer (=> double registration in TRACES). Registration by the FVO is free and not subject to any conditions.
Countries and businesses of origin outside the EU
The country of origin must by approved by the EU for importing the group of goods concerned. It must also have an EU-approved residue testing programme in place for the group of goods (annual approval by the EU). The business of the exporter or producer must appear on the EU list of approved businesses in the country concerned. The EU approval procedure for export businesses takes place on the basis of on-the-spot inspections.
The goods must be accompanied by a veterinary certificate issued by the local veterinary authorities in the country of origin. Only the stamped and signed original is acceptable; faxes and copies are not sufficient for import. The relevant certificate templates can be found on the homepage.
Person required to register with customs
The person required to register with customs is the person who handles customs clearance at the border. This may be the importer himself or a forwarding agent commissioned by the importer. For imports via a Swiss airport, advance notice of the consignment is also needed in the electronic TRACES system (at least 24 hours before arrival). For this, the person required to register with customs must have attended a TRACES training course. (See > TRACES/GVDE)
Border veterinary checks
When goods are imported, a border veterinarian check is carried out during the opening hours of the border veterinary service. The test is subject to a fee (at least CHF 88). Only when the documents and goods have been released by the border veterinarian can duty be paid on the goods. (See > Border veterinary controls)
Questions concerning imports
Questions concerning food law in relation to importing food of animal origin from third countries must be addressed to Federal Veterinary Office.
Equivalence between EU and Swiss law
With respect to third countries, the FVO enforces EU regulations for importing goods on a one-to-one basis in keeping with the principle of equivalence.
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