Ban on fresh meat import

The Icelandic legislation currently applicable to the importation of fresh meat, meat preparations and other meat products from other EEA States is in breach of EEA law.

Under Icelandic law, the importation of fresh meat, processed or unprocessed, chilled or frozen, as well as meat preparations and other meat products (such as sausages or dried and smoked meat) is subject to an import authorisation procedure. Importers must apply for a permit and submit documentation, such as certificates confirming that the products have been frozen or confirming that the products are free of salmonella, to the Icelandic Food and Veterinary Office.

In a letter of formal notice sent to Iceland in October 2013, the Authority considered that this authorisation procedure is in breach of the Directive concerning veterinary checks in EEA trade and that the Icelandic measures cannot be justified on grounds of protection of health and life of humans or animals.

At the end of 2011, the provisions of the so-called “hygiene package” concerning meat and milk became applicable to Iceland. At the same time, the Authority started examining the compatibility of the Icelandic legislation applicable to the importation of fresh meat and other meat products from other EEA States with these new rules.

Careful review of the Icelandic measures revealed that restrictions on the importation of fresh meat into Iceland were in breach of EEA law. In October 2013, the Authority sent a letter of formal notice to Iceland, giving the Icelandic authorities two months to express their views on the content of the letter. By letter of 13 December 2013, the Authority granted Iceland an extension to submit its observations until 28 February 2014.

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