From 14 December 2019, the Official Controls Regulations (OCR) – Regulation (EU) 2017/625 – will come fully into force. The OCR will repeal and replace several pieces of EU legislation, in particular Regulation (EC) 882/2004 and Regulation (EC) 854/2004. The OCR seeks to simplify and harmonise the official control system. Provisions will remain substantially the same, with some exceptions.
What will be changing from 14 December 2019?
Border Control Posts (BCPs)
All Border Inspection Posts (BIPs) will automatically be re-designated as Border Control Posts (BCPs). This is purely a name change, whilst no further action is required by businesses; they should check their BCP is approved to accept their category of good.
Importers of live animals and animal products will need to give the relevant BCP at least one working day, and a minimum of four hours prior notice of importation. Note: there are no changes to the minimum pre-notification period for live animals.
Common Health Entry Document
Importers will also complete a new Common Health Entry Document (CHED), replacing the Common Veterinary Entry Document (CVED).
Import health certificates
Health certificates accompanying imported products of animal origin, including seafood, are changing. Consignments of fishery products and live bivalves arriving at the EU border, or landed directly into an EU port, will need to be accompanied by certificates in the new format. Old style certificates issued on or after 14 December 2019 will not be accepted. The Regulation that provides the specimen certificates is Regulation (EU) 2019/628. Importers should ensure that their suppliers are aware of the change.
New pre-notification IT system
TRACES NT will be the new system for notifying imports of fishery products from outside the EU. Transition from the existing TRACES Classic system to the new TRACES NT system has been delayed. We will provide further updates in the near future.
Approved establishments handling live bivalve molluscs or echinoderms will no longer be permitted to harvest from unclassified areas. Any business currently harvesting echinoderms from unclassified areas will require the area to be classified.
When health standards have not been met in Class A harvesting areas, continued harvesting of live bivalve molluscs, without closure or reclassification, may be permitted on the basis of a risk assessment. The continuation will be on a temporary and non-recurring basis, and only as long as the area and all approved establishments are under a single competent authority and are subject to appropriate restrictive measure.
The sampling frequency for toxin analysis of live bivalve molluscs has been made clearer, requiring weekly sampling, unless demonstrated by risk assessment that less frequent sampling is appropriate.