Special EU Import Conditions for U.S. Almonds
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 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 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 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 669/2009.
Provisions for methods of sampling and analysis for the official control of mycotoxins including aflatoxins are laid down in Commission Regulation 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