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International Forwarding Association Blog » European Logistics » Requirements and Documents to Transport Agricultural Produce
Transport Agricultural Produce

Requirements and Documents to Transport Agricultural Produce

Earth population growth is not expected to slow down over the next 80 years, making global sourcing the key to meeting growing demand for agricultural products. Producers, farmers, and growers market and sell commodities that are shipped to different parts of the world.

There are import requirements, regulations, and guidelines, however, that EU freight forwarders must be familiar with.



Requirements and Documents to Transport Agricultural Produce

Phytosanitary Certificate

To import agricultural produce, operators submit phytosanitary certificates for plant materials and fresh vegetables and fruits. The certificate guarantees that the produce meets EU plant health requirements, is free from pests, and has been duly inspected. Plants for which a phytosanitary certificate is required include rye and wheat imported from South Africa, Pakistan, Mexico, the U.S., and other countries. The same goes for plant materials for plaiting that are imported from the U.S., including rushes, reeds, rattans, and bamboos. Certain fruits are exempt, examples being dates, durian, coconut, banana, and pineapple. A phytosanitary certificate is not required for plant products and plants imported for varietal selections, scientific studies, trials, and breeding for which operators submit a letter of authority. They fill in details such as:

  • Type and quantity of material
  • Scientific name
  • Address and name of the confinement facility or quarantine station
  • Address and name of the plant production organization and consigner
  • Movement and packaging conditions
  • Endorsement by competent authority
  • Final use
  • Place of endorsement
  • Multiple sendings

Sanitary Certificate

Shippers transporting animal feeds, veterinary biologicals, and other products designated for non-human use are asked to submit a sanitary certificate. It is also required for highly processed products such as amino acids, rennet, chitosan, and hydrolyzed cartilage products.

Requirements for Composite Products

Commodities for which veterinary certification is not required include lasagnas, pizzas, high protein food supplements, and cheesecakes. However, under Commission Decision 2007/275/EC, operators submit certificates for products with over 50 percent meat content. Products with less than 50 percent gelatin, honey, processed fish, snails, and eggs are not covered under the decision.

Guidelines for Organic Imports

European logistics companies specializing in organic imports may be asked to submit certificates for products originating in Switzerland, New Zealand, the Republic of Korea, Israel, and other countries. Imports are also subject to inspection by the country of origin’s national authorities. Additional protocols and guidelines apply to agricultural products imported from countries such as Russia, Moldova, Kazakhstan, and Ukraine. The list of documents required includes transport documents, documents of custom declaration, and certificate of inspection. In addition, importers are asked to prove product and operator traceability by providing details such as valid certification of operators and verification of addresses and names. Samples are also taken as outlined in Commission Regulation (EU) No 691/2013. The nature of primary sample and minimum size vary for different products such as poultry meats, mammal meat parts, small and large mammals, etc. The same applies to processed plant foods and primary commodities, including sugar beets, potatoes, seeds for sweets and beverages, and cereal grains.