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TRACES system

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TRACES system



Decision 2003/623/EC on the development of an integrated computerised veterinary system known as Traces


It creates the Traces single central database for monitoring the movements of animals and products of animal origin, as well as organic, fishery, plant and plant protection products, and timber within the EU and coming from outside the EU.


The main features of Traces are:

  • electronic transmission of information;
  • centralised management of the statutory reference data;
  • interoperability with other information systems;
  • multilingualism.


The Traces system aims to:

  • improve the quantity and quality of information on animal movements;
  • improve the exchange of information between the national and EU authorities;
  • provide a system of electronic veterinary certificates which allows businesses to obtain information online;
  • produce lists of establishments from countries outside of the EU which are authorised to export products of animal origin to the EU;
  • manage consignments rejected at EU borders;
  • target controls on public and animal health and animal welfare (particularly during their transport, etc.);
  • centralise the evaluation of potential risks of an epidemic;
  • overcome language difficulties by making information from other countries more accessible;
  • integrate all the operators concerned by putting in place a system for exchanging documents between businesses and competent authorities.


Producers and businesses may be integrated into Traces if they are registered by the relevant competent authority. When they wish to transport animals or animal products, they must fill in a standardised electronic form which contains all the appropriate information concerning the animal or product of animal origin, the destination and any stages of the journey.

In the case of trade within the EU in animals or products of animal origin, the information is forwarded to the competent authority of the EU country of origin. After checking the form, the authority may reject or approve the transport. Where appropriate, it will issue the health certificate and the route plan relating to the animals’ welfare in the official languages of the EU country of origin and of destination. The private operator may only carry out the transport if they have received authorisation.

In the case of import or transit of animals or products of animal origin from outside the EU, the official at the border inspection post who checks the animals or products and the veterinary import documents is responsible for entering the relevant information in the Traces database, including the decision on whether to allow or refuse access to EU territory, and for issuing a Common Veterinary Entry Document.

All this information is sent to the veterinary authority of the EU country of destination, to the central veterinary authority of the country or countries of transit and to all appropriate control points. It can then be consulted during checks carried out on the route and/or at the destination. This information may also be consulted by the businesses registered in the database. The system is available to users free of charge.

Under Regulation (EU) 2017/625 on official controls along the agri-food chain, the Traces system is to be integrated in the EU’s information management system for official controls (known as IMSOC). The legal basis for the Traces system will be Regulation (EU) 2017/625 from 14 December 2019 onwards.


It has applied since 19 August 2003.


The Traces system replaced several previous separate systems with one single system to avoid duplication, simplifying the monitoring of animal movements and making it more efficient. The European Commission is responsible for controlling, developing and maintaining the Traces system.

For more information, see:

  • Traces (European Commission).


Commission Decision 2003/623/EC of 19 August 2003 concerning the development of an integrated computerised veterinary system known as Traces (OJ L 216, 28.8.2003, pp. 58-59)


Regulation (EU) 2017/625 of the European Parliament and of the Council of 15 March 2017 on official controls and other official activities performed to ensure the application of food and feed law, rules on animal health and welfare, plant health and plant protection products, amending Regulations (EC) No 999/2001, (EC) No 396/2005, (EC) No 1069/2009, (EC) No 1107/2009, (EU) No 1151/2012, (EU) No 652/2014, (EU) 2016/429 and (EU) 2016/2031 of the European Parliament and of the Council, Council Regulations (EC) No 1/2005 and (EC) No 1099/2009 and Council Directives 98/58/EC, 1999/74/EC, 2007/43/EC, 2008/119/EC and 2008/120/EC, and repealing Regulations (EC) No 854/2004 and (EC) No 882/2004 of the European Parliament and of the Council, Council Directives 89/608/EEC, 89/662/EEC, 90/425/EEC, 91/496/EEC, 96/23/EC, 96/93/EC and 97/78/EC and Council Decision 92/438/EEC (Official Controls Regulation) (OJ L 95, 7.4.2017, pp. 1-142)

Successive amendments to Regulation (EU) 2017/625 have been incorporated into the original document. This consolidated version is of documentary value only.

Regulation (EU) 2016/429 of the European Parliament and of the Council of 9 March 2016 on transmissible animal diseases and amending and repealing certain acts in the area of animal health (‘Animal Health Law’) (OJ L 84, 31.3.2016, pp. 1-208)

See consolidated version.

Commission Regulation (EC) No 1235/2008 of 8 December 2008 laying down detailed rules for implementation of Council Regulation (EC) No 834/2007 as regards the arrangements for imports of organic products from third countries (OJ L 334, 12.12.2008, pp. 25-52)

See consolidated version.

Commission Regulation (EC) No 889/2008 of 5 September 2008 laying down detailed rules for the implementation of Council Regulation (EC) No 834/2007 on organic production and labelling of organic products with regard to organic production, labelling and control (OJ L 250, 18.9.2008, pp. 1-84)

See consolidated version.

Council Regulation (EC) No 2173/2005 of 20 December 2005 on the establishment of a FLEGT licensing scheme for imports of timber into the European Community (OJ L 347, 30.12.2005, pp. 1-6)

See consolidated version.

last update 27.04.2018