Browse by year:

Internal Market

Internal Market: Iceland's restrictions on the import of egg and dairy products in breach of EEA law



  EN | IS

Icelandic legislation regarding import of egg and dairy products from other EEA States is in breach of EEA law. Iceland's restrictions impose requirements on importers that go beyond what is permitted by EEA law. This is the conclusion of a reasoned opinion delivered by the EFTA Surveillance Authority (ESA) today.

Under Icelandic law, an authorisation is needed to import raw eggs and raw egg products, unpasteurised milk and dairy products processed from unpasteurised milk. Importers must apply for a permit and submit documentation to the Icelandic Food and Veterinary Authority. ESA considers this authorisation procedure to be in breach of Directive 89/662/EEC concerning veterinary checks in EEA trade.[1] The main objective of the directive is to reinforce health checks at the product's point of origin while limiting controls at the place of destination to non-discriminatory veterinary spot-checks. By requiring importers to apply for import permits and imposing additional requirements, the Icelandic legislation imposes additional checks that go beyond the types of checks permitted under this directive.

Egg and dairy products produced in EEA countries are subject to a large number of regulations designed to guarantee the safety of these products as well as official control carried out by national competent authorities based on harmonised standards. This comprehensive body of rules minimises the risk and reduces the likelihood of introducing pathogens via egg and dairy products imported in Iceland.In addition, the comprehensive system of control measures that apply within the European Union, in the face of a disease outbreak, further limits the risk for Iceland.

The authorisation procedure is similar to the one applicable to imports of raw meat products, which the EFTA Court considered, in its judgment in case E-17/15 Ferskar kjötvörur ehf. v the Icelandic State, to be in breach of Directive 89/662/EEC. ESA considers that the authorisation procedure for raw egg and dairy products also breaches this directive.

ESA also has an open case against Iceland concerning restriction on import of raw meat products and sent a reasoned opinion to Iceland in October 2014. Following the EFTA Court judgment, ESA has inquired how Iceland intends to amend its laws to comply with the judgment. So far no laws have been changed.

A reasoned opinion is the second stage of the infringement procedure. ESA may bring the matter before the EFTA Court if Iceland fails to take the measures necessary to comply with the reasoned opinion within two months.

For further information, please contact:

Mr. Ólafur Jóhannes Einarsson
Director, Department of Internal Market Affairs
tel. +32 2 286 18 73

[1] Council Directive 89/662/EEC of 11 December 1989 concerning veterinary checks in intra-Community trade with a view to the completion of the internal market

Other EEA Institutions

This website is built with Eplica CMS