On 21 March 2019, the European Commission published Implementation Directive 2019/523. This directive modifies aspects related measures to protect against introducing organisms that are harmful to plants and plant products into the European Community and to prevent them from spreading. In other words, it modifies the provisions of European Council Directive 2000/29/EC. It enters into force on 1 September 2019. This article explains the details.
Which products does this phytosanitary directive affect?
The changes contemplated in Implementation Directive 2019/523 refer to these foods and products:
- All live vegetables or parts of them, including seeds. In particular, it refers to fruit and vegetables that have not undergone freezing processes, cut flowers, tubers, bulbs, rhizomes and tuberous roots, branches with foliage, leaves, cut trees, tissue cultures, shoots, cuttings and grafts and live pollen.
- All products of plant origin: refers to those that have not been processed or have undergone simple preparation processes.
Main modifications to be taken into account
The Implementation Directive 2019/523 modifies appendices I to V of the European Council Directive 2000/29/EC, 8 May 2000, in the following aspects:
- Health inspections will be applied to new products such as: Papaya, Strawberry, Avocado, Blackberry, Raspberry, Grape, Kiwi, etc.
- The geographical scope for the following products is expanded: Apple, Pear, Persimmon, Mango, Passion Fruit, Plum, Guava, Pear, Currant and Blueberry.
- New organisms considered harmful to plants have been added and the classification has been modified for some of those already included in the appendices of the directive that it modifies.
- Countries that are not members of the European Union that want to export vegetables or plant products to EU countries must guarantee the adoption of refrigeration or other equally effective treatments in order to guarantee that their exports are free from ‘Thaumatotibia leucotreta’.
- Other countries must communicate in writing to the European Commission regarding their activity against pests and about their pest-free areas.
- Among other modifications that may be expanded in the directive.
How does the Implementation Directive 2019/523 affect you?
If you wish to introduce vegetables and plant products, including vegetables, fruits and wood products, into European Union member countries from non-EU countries, you must ensure that the products strictly comply with the additional requirements of this directive in terms of plant health; for the purpose of preventing the introduction and spread of harmful organisms in the Community or denying entry of goods that are affected.
Don’t forget that phytosanitary requirements also apply to packaging made from wood and used to package the products. They are subject to the provisions of the International Standard for Phytosanitary Measures No. 15 of the FAO, and must undergo treatments approved by this standard and bear the required marking.
General requirements for importing vegetables into EU member countries
Please remember the general import requirements established within the European Union must also be complied with.
- A phytosanitary certificate provided by the authorities of the country of origin that are competent in the matter is required. Without this certificate, it will not be possible to pass the customs inspections that will be carried out in the country of entry to the European Union.
- Use the services of an importer who is registered in the official registry of at least one European Union member country.
- Notify customs of the arrival of the goods in advance.
- The European Union member countries and the European Commission reserve the right to take temporary emergency measures if plant or plant products from a third country are detected that may pose a phytosanitary risk in terms of introducing and spreading pests.
We hope this has been helpful in providing a better understanding of the new phytosanitary requirements that must be met for the entry of vegetables and plant products into the EU.
The Directives mentioned in this article, to expand the information provided, can be downloaded here: