General Requirements for Veterinary Certification
The EU imposes a number of general requirements for all veterinary certificates in accordance with Annex IV of Council Directive 2002/99/EC. One requirement in particular repeatedly causes rejection and detainment of shipments at EU borders. The EU requires that certificates be issued before the consignments leaves the control of the competent authority. All U.S. regulatory agencies that issue health certificates (FSIS, APHIS, AMS, and NOAA) have now included this requirement in their export libraries.
ANNEX IV: General principles of certification
1. The representative of the competent authority of dispatch issuing a certificate to accompany a consignment of products of animal origin must sign the certificate and ensure that it bears an official stamp. This requirement applies to each sheet of the certificate if it consists of more than one.
2. Certificates must be drawn up in the official language or languages of the Member State of destination and those of the Member State in which the border inspection takes place, or be accompanied by a certified translation into that language or those languages. However, a Member State may consent to the use of an official EU language other than its own.
3. The original version of the certificate must accompany consignments on entry into the EU.
4. Certificates must consist of:
(a) a single sheet of paper; or
(b) two or more pages that are part of a single and indivisible sheet of paper; or
(c) a sequence of pages numbered so as to indicate that it is a particular page in a finite sequence (for example, ‘page 2 of 4 pages’).
5. Certificates must bear a unique identifying number. Where the certificate consists of a sequence of pages, each page must indicate this number.
6. The certificate must be issued before the consignment to which it relates leaves the control of the competent authority of the country of dispatch.