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Intra-Community trade in poultry and hatching eggs

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Intra-Community trade in poultry and hatching eggs

The European Union (EU) lays down animal health rules to encourage the harmonious development of intra-Community trade in, and imports from third countries of, poultry and hatching eggs. This harmonisation guarantees the application of common principles to imports of poultry and hatching eggs into the Member States, and prevents the entry into EU territory of animals infected with contagious diseases which represent a threat to health.


Council Directive 2009/158/EC of 30 November 2009 on animal health conditions governing intra-Community trade in, and imports from third countries of, poultry and hatching eggs.


This Directive governs intra-Community trade in, and imports of, poultry and hatching eggs. However, it does not apply to movements of animals within a Member State.

Types of animal and animal products

This Directive applies to:

  • poultry (fowls, turkeys, guinea fowls, ducks, geese, quails, pigeons, pheasants, partridges and ostriches);
  • day-old chicks, i.e. poultry less than 72 hours old, not yet fed. However, muscovy ducks and their crosses may be fed.
  • hatching eggs.

This Directive does not apply to poultry intended for exhibitions, shows or contests.

Trade within the European Union (EU)

Establishments producing poultry and hatching eggs shall obtain approval to conduct trade with EU countries. Approval shall be granted by the Commission after examining the national plans. These plans shall indicate the measures which Member States intend to implement to ensure that establishments comply with the conditions as regards facilities and operation (see Annex II).

In addition, each Member State shall designate its own reference laboratory. The role of the national reference laboratories shall be to coordinate the diagnostic methods provided for in this Directive. The list of reference laboratories shall be updated regularly by the Member States and made available to the public.

Poultry and hatching eggs which are the subject of intra-Community trade shall satisfy the conditions laid down in terms of health. In particular, they shall have come from groups of healthy animals and originate in approved establishments which are not the subject of any animal health restrictions applicable to poultry.

Special provisions as regards salmonella shall apply to trade with Finland and Sweden which have a favourable health status. These two Member States (unlike the others) do not carry out systematic vaccination to protect poultry against Newcastle disease. Consequently, they may require additional animal health guarantees for imports of poultry and hatching eggs originating in other Member States.

The transportation of poultry and hatching eggs must comply with specific conditions relating to containers, packages, boxes, crates, cages and vehicles. In addition, poultry and hatching eggs shall be accompanied, during transportation to the place of destination, by a veterinary certificate which conforms with the model in Annex IV and is signed by an official veterinarian.

Imports from third countries

Poultry and hatching eggs may be imported into the European Union provided that they have originated in third countries included on the list drawn up by the Commission. To be registered on that list, the country (or part of a third country) shall guarantee compliance with health conditions at least equivalent to the Community rules. In particular, it shall:

  • satisfy the conditions applicable to groups of animals and their establishment of origin;
  • be able to provide rapid warning of the existence in its territory of contagious animal diseases on the list of the World Organisation for Animal Health (OIE);
  • prevent or control contagious animal diseases;
  • comply with the rules relating to health services and veterinary services;
  • guarantee compliance with Community rules on hormones and residues.

Moreover, these countries shall make provision for compulsory notification of avian influenza and Newcastle disease.

During transportation, poultry and hatching eggs shall be accompanied by a certificate signed by an official veterinarian of the exporting country.

To ensure that all the provisions of this Directive are applied, on-the-spot inspections shall be carried out by veterinary experts. These veterinarians shall be designated by the Commission on proposals from the Member States.


The Standing Committee on the Food Chain and Animal Health shall assist the Commission in settling animal health issues governing intra-Community trade in and imports of poultry and hatching eggs.



Entry into force

Deadline for transposition in the Member States

Official Journal

Directive 2009/158/EC



OJ L 343 of 22.12.2009

Successive amendments and corrections to Directive 2009/158/EC have been incorporated in the basic text. This consolidated version is for reference purpose only.


Commission Regulation (EC) No 798/2008 of 8 August 2008 laying down a list of third countries, territories, zones or compartments from which poultry and poultry products may be imported into and transit through the Community and the veterinary certification requirements [Official Journal L 226 of 23.8.2008].

Last updated: 21.09.2011