Special EU Import Conditions for U.S. Almonds
Special EU Import Conditions for U.S. Almonds are no longer applicable after September 3, 2014 following the publication of Commission Implementing Regulation (EU) No 884/2014 of 13 August 2014 imposing special conditions governing the import of certain feed and food from certain third countries due to contamination risk by aflatoxins and repealing Regulation (EC) No 1152/2009. With the removal of special import conditions for U.S. almonds, the presence of a VASP (Voluntary Aflatoxin Sampling Plan) certificate will no longer be a pre-condition for import into the EU. However, the Almond Board of California will strongly advise its members to continue to use the VASP certificate. The lifting of special measures will have no effect on testing levels for shipments with a VASP as those as those had already been lowered to random levels in January 2010. Shipments without a VASP will likely be subject to higher than random import control levels. With the complete removal of special import conditions, the use of the Common Entry Document and the prior notification of goods to the competent authorities at the designated port of entry will no longer be mandatory.
On September 1, 2007, the EU implemented Special Import Conditions, setting mandatory testing levels for California almonds upon arrival into EU member countries.
The California almond industry and USDA developed a Voluntary Aflatoxin Sampling Plan (VASP) comparable to the EU sampling procedures so that almonds can be uniformly tested before they are shipped to the EU. The EU considered the guarantees provided by the program to be sufficient to reduce the import controls on U.S. almonds shipped under the VASP program to random levels from January 2010 onwards (Commission Regulation (EC) 1152/2009). Almonds shipped without a VASP certificate had been subject to 100 pct border controls in the original Commission Regulation 1152/2009; however, the regulation was amended in March 2012 to no longer authorize imports without a VASP (Commission Regulation (EU) No 274/2012).
The Decision applies to in shell, shelled and roasted almonds, and mixtures of nuts or dried fruits containing almonds, and foodstuffs containing a significant amount of almonds (at least 20 percent).
Regulation (EC) No 1152/2009 also introduced the use of a Common Entry Document (CED), similar to the Common Veterinary Entry Document (CVED) used for veterinary products. The importer has to provide prior notification to the competent authorities at the designated port of entry for the goods covered by the regulation at least 1 working day prior to the arrival of the goods, using the CED. The CED was published in Annex II of the Regulation EC (No) 669/2009, as amended by Commission Implementing Regulation (EU) No 323/2014.
Provisions for methods of sampling and analysis for the official control of mycotoxins including aflatoxins are laid down in Commission Regulation (EC) No 401/2006. The “Guidance document for competent authorities for the control of compliance with EU legislation on aflatoxins” takes into account the specifics of the U.S. VASP program.
For additional information on the VASP program see:
- USDA-AMS Technical Services – Almond Aflatoxin Program