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Cross-border trade

General permissions in accordance with Section 54 LFGB (formerly Section 47a LMBG)

The principle of free movement of goods applies in the EU. This means that products which do not conform with German regulations but which can be legally placed on the market in other Member States must also be permitted in Germany and other Member States.

However, this regulation is limited by Section 54(1) Sentence 2 Point 2 LFGB. Products which do not conform with German legal provisions can only be brought to market if they have been granted an appropriate general permission. These general permissions must be applied for from the BVL. The BVL then checks, together with other authorities, whether there are health objections to the product and can accept the motion or reject it. A one-off general permission also applies to similar products which are already on the market in EU Member States. Other importers can therefore refer to already issued general permissions and introduce their products to Germany under the conditions named in the general permission.

Bild eines verrosteten Schildes "Zollgrenze"© Hartmut Mester /

Companies trading in food of animal origin

A large number of companies which place food of animal origin on the market are subject to a duty to obtain authorisation. The companies authorised by the competent authorities of the federal states are recorded in the database "List of the companies in Germany permitted to trade in foodstuffs of animal origin (BltU) in accordance with Regulation (EC) No 853/2004" which is available on the BVL website.

Using the continuously updated database in the internet, all parties, including consumers, who are interested in the manufacturing and trading of foodstuffs, are able to obtain information about the current state at any time.

The corresponding lists, with companies from other Member States and from third countries, which export food of animal origin into the EU, can be found on the European Commission’s website.

Customs and border inspection posts

The BVL maintains a list of the customs agencies as well as the designated border inspection posts and other exit points, where live animals and goods are cleared for import, export and transit and declares these to the Federal Gazette.

Points of entry pursuant to regulation (EC) no 669/2009 as regards the increased level of official controls on the import of certain foods of non-animal origin

Harmonised general Community legislation for official controls was established in Regulation (EC) No 882/2004. With regard to the official controls on the introduction of feedstuffs and food from third countries, this legislation stipulates that a list of feed and food of non-animal origin that is, on the basis of a known or emerging risk, to be subject to an increased level of official controls at the point of entry in the European Union, must be compiled. The specific implementation is governed by Regulation (EC) No 669/2009 which determines that there is to be at least one point of entry named for each product listed in Annex I of this Regulation. The list of designated points of entry is valid from 25 January 2010.

Points of import in accordance with Commission implementing regulation (EU) no 884/2014 imposing special conditions governing the import of certain feed and food from certain third countries due to contamination risk by aflatoxins

Regulation (EC) No 1881/2006 sets maximum levels for certain contaminants in foodstuffs. These maximum levels for aflatoxins are often exceeded in certain foodstuffs from certain countries. As this type of contamination poses a serious threat to human health in the Community, special conditions were issued on a Community level in the form of IMPLEMENTING REGULATION (EU) No 884/2014. The foodstuffs and their processed products listed in this Regulation are subject to increased official controls and must only be imported into Europe through certain customs agencies.

Cross-Border infringements

A “transnational infringement” arises when food control authorities in Germany determines that a foodstuff could pose health risks or does not comply with the legal requirements and this foodstuff originates from another EU Member State or a third country. In such cases, the respective complaint, including all files (laboratory results, official reports etc), is forwarded via the BVL to the competent authorities in the respective country of origin for the foodstuff. The measures effected locally are generally disclosed to the BVL by the competent authority of the Member State or third country and forwarded to the federal states by the BVL.

Likewise, the BVL is the contact point if German foodstuffs are queried in other Member States or third countries. These infringements are forwarded by the BVL to the competent authorities of the respective federal state where the foodstuff was manufactured. The measures taken locally are communicated by the BVL to the respective Member State or third country.

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