Switzerland bans the import of seal products
Bern, 03.03.2017 - The import of seal products into Switzerland is to be prohibited, according to a decision adopted by the Federal Council in its session on 3 March 2017. At the same time, procedures for the import of animals and animal products will be automated. The Swiss Ordinance on the import, transit and export of animals and animal products (ITEO) will be amended accordingly.
With effect from 1 April 2017, it will no longer be possible to import seal products into Switzerland. Seal products include meat, oil, blubber, organs, fur skins and articles made therefrom. By banning the import of seal products, the Federal Council has implemented the Freysinger Motion which called for such a ban in line with EU law.
Ordinance amendments allow exceptions
The amendments to the Ordinance allow certain exceptions. On the one hand, the import of seal products will be permitted if they result from hunts traditionally conducted by Inuit or other indigenous communities. These hunts must at the same time contribute to the community's subsistence. On the other hand, travellers may continue to import seal products for personal use.
Because imports of seal products into Switzerland are already minimal, the new regulations are unlikely to have a significant effect.
Efficient customs control thanks to automated data synchronisation
A second amendment to the Ordinance on the import, transit and export of animals and animal products concerns controls on imports. Until now, the Swiss Federal Customs Administration (FCA) has used document verification to ensure that consignments subject to veterinary border control were inspected accordingly, or that the relevant accompanying documents were present in exchanges with the EU. This form of document control is to be discontinued. It will be replaced by automated data synchronisation between the FCA's e-dec data processing system and the FSVO interface, which will access data in the EU veterinary information system (TRACES) and/or the FSVO permit system (ITEO).
This will improve the efficiency of inspection and processing of animals and animal products at the border.
Address for enquiries
Federal Food Safety and Veterinary Office (FSVO)
Tel. 058 463 78 98
- Ordonnance réglant les échanges d'importation, de transit et d'exportation d'animaux et de produits animaux avec les pays tiers (OITE-PT) (PDF, 222 kB)
- Ordonnance du DFI réglant les échanges d’importation, de transit et d’exportation d’animaux et de produits animaux avec les pays tiers (OITE-PT-DFI) (PDF, 241 kB)
- Ordonnance réglant les échanges d’importation, de transit et d’exportation d’animaux et de produits animaux avec les États membres de l’UE, l’Islande et la Norvège (OITE-UE) (PDF, 258 kB)
The Federal Council
Federal Food Safety and Veterinary Office
General Secretariat FDHA