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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 19 Mar 2014
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).

Barrier Status Ongoing
Actions Taken


The EC and the USA-Food and Drug Administration (FDA) are engaged in bilateral discussions with the goal to agree on the equialence of both control regimes and organise trade on this basis.  


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