Information for Importers06/03/2006
Trading in foodstuffs originating in another EU Member State
Foodstuffs coming on the Czech market from other EU Member States are not considered to be imported. The free movement of goods applies to trading within EU Member States. You do not need any special permission or certificates for such trading. It is obvious that food must be safe, correctly labelled, and it must comply with relevant regulations of general application.
All foodstuffs placed on the market within the EU must comply with general labelling requirements determined in Directive 2001/13/EC, as amended. (In the Czech Republic, the Directive requirements have been incorporated into Act No. 110/1997 Coll., as amended, and Decree No. 113/2005 Coll., on the method of labelling food and tobacco products, as amended). Regulation EC 178/2002 of the European Commission and of the Council, 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, as amended, is important.
Requirements for commodities (regulated and unregulated area, mutual recognition principle)
Foodstuffs can either fall within regulated area (for these foodstuffs there are European regulations) or within unregulated area (for these foodstuffs there are no European regulations). In the case of regulated area, the food must comply with requirements of the national regulation of the Member State in which the food was produced or sold within the Community for the first time. (If, for example, Czech bread complies with requirements laid down by Czech Decree for the respective commodity, it must not be rejected in another EU Member State, provided that the bread is safe). (Mutual recognition principle). The mutual recognition principle is covered by Article 11(a) of the Food Act, and it is the basic principle used for placing foodstuffs from other EU Member States on the Czech market.
Free movement of goods
The free movement of goods has been one of the four basic pillars since the establishment of the European Community. The freedom of free movement of goods helps particularly in creating the single market throughout the EU territory. Harmonization of Member States national regulations with the European ones is a prerequisite of free movement of goods. The free movement of goods can also be applied thanks to similar supervisory practices for food safety employed by the Member States.
The European Commission checks the functionality of control system used in the Member States through control missions by the European Communities, Health and Consumer Protection Directorate General. This is done through a number of control visits by the Food and Veterinary Office - FVO, having its seat in Dublin. The final report on the results is published on the General Directorate website so that all Member States can acquaint themselves with the situation in other Member States.
EU Member States
Austria, Belgium, Bulgaria, Cyprus, Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Italy, Ireland, Latvia, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malta, Netherlands, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden, and United Kingdom.
The free movement of goods principle and the mutual recognition principle does not concern only Member States, but the entire European Economic Area, therefore, also Norway, Lichtenstein and Iceland, and based on the Council Regulation of the EU-Turkey Association Council on implementation of the final stage of the Customs Union “imports and exports between EU Member States and Turkey are also included.
EU legislation can be found at the following addresses:
Czech legal regulations can be found on CAFIA website - www.szpi.gov.cz in the “Acts, Decrees” section.