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EFTA Freezes Freezing of Fresh Meat

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EFTA Freezes Freezing of Fresh Meat

Icelandic lamb

Photo: Páll Stefánsson.

The EFTA Court today issued a judgement, saying that the freezing of imported meat cannot be required Under EEA law. The reason for the ruling was an inquiry from the Reykjavík District Court regarding whether the present authorization procedure for importing raw meat is compatible with the EEA Agreement.

The plaintiff Ferskar kjötvörur (Fresh Meat Products) imported 83 kg (183 lbs) of raw beef from the Netherlands to Iceland. An import permit was granted provided that the meat was stored frozen for one month before customs clearance. Since the plaintiff did not comply, the meat was discarded. The plaintiff then sought compensation for expenses incurred from the Icelandic State (the defendant) through the Reykjavík District Court, which decided to refer to the EFTA Court questions on whether present Icelandic import requirements for raw meat were compatible with the EEA Agreement.

The Icelandic State argued that Iceland´s geographical isolation and the immunological vulnerability of its animal population should be taken into account, but the Court noted that unlike the import of live animals, no adaptation for import of raw meat has been made.

Thus, the Court ruled that an EEA state may not require and importer of raw meat to submit a certificate confirming the meat has been frozen.

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