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SPS: Sanitary and Phytosanitary Issues

Title UNITED STATES - Sanitary measures applied by USA for imports of live bivalve molluscs
Creation Date 20 Feb 2008
Last update/check 27 Nov 2015
Barrier id 085114
Sector Agriculture and Fisheries
SPS measure Other SPS import restrictions
Country United States of America
Description of the measure

The USA requires the testing of the water in which bivalve molluscs (e.g. oysters) are reared for coliforms, whereas the European Union requires testing of the flesh of the bivalve molluscs for Escherichia coli. The European Community Reference Laboratory for monitoring bacteriological and viral contamination of bivalve molluscs has studied the two approaches and has confirmed that the same level of protection is achieved.The EU claims that the two different approaches achieve the same level of protection, and therefore should be regarded as equivalent, within the framework of Article 4 of the WTO/SPS Agreement (Sanitary and Phytosanitary).

An equivalence exercise is ongoing with FDA since 2011 with the pilot Member States IRL, NL and ES and two Federal States of the US. After a paper evaluation, on-site audits were done in 2014. It is envisaged to formally agree on 'equivalence' in December 2015. Thereafter, additional Member States and Federal States may be evaluated on a faster track.

Barrier Status Ongoing
Actions Taken
Hs codes
  • 0307 - Molluscs, whether in shell or not, live, fresh, chilled, frozen, dried, salted or in brine; aquatic invertebrates other than crustaceans and molluscs, live, fresh, chilled, frozen, dried, salted or in brine; flours, meals and pellets of aquatic invertebrates other than crustaceans, fit for human consumption