Browse by year:

Internal Market

Internal Market: Iceland's restrictions on the importation of fresh meat in breach of EEA law



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. This is the conclusion of a reasoned opinion delivered by the EFTA Surveillance Authority today.

Under Icelandic law, the importation of fresh meat, processed or unprocessed, chilled or frozen, as well as meat preparations and other meat is subject to an authorisation procedure. Importers must apply for a permit and submit documentation to the Icelandic Food and Veterinary Office.[1] This authorisation procedure is in breach of the Directive concerning veterinary checks in EEA trade[2], its main objective is to reinforcing health check at product´s point of origin, facilitating free movement of goods, while eliminating additional veterinary checks at EEA´s internal borders.

By requiring importers to apply for import permits and present several certificates, such as a  documentation confirming that the products have been stored at a temperature of at least -18°C for 30 days or a certificate confirming that the products are free of salmonella, the Icelandic legislation imposes additional and systematic veterinary checks on products that are already subject to a comprehensive system of veterinary and health checks in their countries of origin. Controls at the place of destination are limited to non-discriminatory veterinary spot-checks according to EEA law. Additional checks are not permitted.

In addition, the information presented by Iceland to justify the measures does not support the view that the measures are suitable and necessary to eliminate the risk of infection to the Icelandic livestock and protect human health.

The Authorisation procedure under Icelandic law therefore constitutes unnecessary and unjustified barriers to trade.

A reasoned opinion is the second stage of the infringement procedure. The Authority can bring the matter before the EFTA Court if the State fails to comply with the reasoned opinion within two months.


More information


For further information, please contact:

Mr Ólafur Einarsson
Director, Department of Internal Market Affairs
tel. (+32)(0)2 286 18 73

Mr. Andreas Kjeldsberg Pihl
Press & Information Officer
tel. (+32)(0)2 286 18 66
mob. (+32)(0)492 900 187

[1] Product numbers: 0202, 0203, 0204, 0207, 0208, 0210, 1601 og 1602.

[2] 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