Why does phytosanitary inspection exist?

There are pests and diseases that are introduced into a country because of international trade in agricultural products.

These dangerous organisms grow rapidly without natural regulation, damaging the environment, native agriculture and, as a result, food production.

Microorganisms can potentially damage a country’s economy by shutting down export or import facilities.

To ensure plant conservation and global supply, countries have created a worldwide obligation for phytosanitary testing of agricultural products.

It is mandatory for plant products to pass phytosanitary inspection at the international level, both to protect the country’s plant heritage and to keep pests and diseases out of the country.

The IPPC (International Plant Protection Convention) is linked to the FAO (Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations) and helps prevent the spread of plant pests and diseases.

To prevent the spread of pests and diseases during international trade in goods, FAO developed the International Standards for Phytosanitary Measures (ISPMs).

The phytosanitary regulation of imports is standardized in the International Standard for Phytosanitary Measures No. 20 and the certification of exports is done through the International Standard for Phytosanitary Measures No. 32 (International Standard for Phytosanitary Measures No. 7).

Since wood packaging used for the transport of agricultural commodities may harbor germs, Standard No. 15, entitled Microbial Erosion, which relates to wood packaging, is relevant.


What elements are examined in the inspection process?

This international standard specifies the inspection processes for shipments of plants and plant products and other commodities, both on arrival and departure of the shipment.

In addition, “other items” are mentioned: storage facilities, packaging, transport, shipping containers, agricultural equipment, wood packaging and surface, among others.


The list of products inspected are:

  • Plants and fruits
  • Pollen
  • Seeds and grain
  • Fresh fruits and vegetables
  • Tubers
  • Fresh flowers
  • Branches and leaves
  • Plants and trees
  • Plant tissue cultures
  • Scions, scions for grafting and cuttings.
  • Wood

Two types of inspections are carried out on the products listed above. A physical and visual inspection to detect harmful organisms. And an inspection of the documents associated with the goods to verify that the identity of the product matches the information provided in its documentation.


Phytosanitary examination in Spain

All EU member states follow the international phytosanitary procedures set out in the International Plant Protection Convention.

Likewise, the EU fully complies with these regulations, which means that all materials imported into EU territory and all exports of goods from the EU to other countries are subject to inspection.

The ministries that govern all trade-related phytosanitary inspections, as well as the website of the former Ministry of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food are the Ministry of Environment and Rural and Marine Affairs, which contains the trade web portal.

Likewise, the Sub directorate General of Sanitary Agreements and Border Control of the General Directorate of Agricultural Production Health is responsible for both imports and the implementation of operational control policies.

In Spain, the Autonomous Communities are responsible for phytosanitary matters and have central plant health services responsible for phytosanitary regulations.

The regional governments have phytosanitary competences, so each of them has a plant health department, which supervises the phytosanitary regulations in their respective jurisdictions.

This department, called the Customs Agency, is responsible for customs processes, including the identification and control of shipments of various goods and commodities, such as those brought in by mail, courier, or travelers’ baggage.

In examining the principles of phytosanitary inspection, it is discovered that phytosanitary inspection is carried out by the Border Inspection Service (SIF).

There are 39 inspection stations throughout Spain set up to control goods of plant origin. Although the airports of Madrid-Barajas and Barcelona-El Prat and the ports of Barcelona, Valencia and Algeciras are the main entry points for this type of goods.


Additional Information on Phytosanitary Inspection requirements

When plant goods such as crops, shrubs, trees, and plants that must undergo phytosanitary inspection arrive at a Border Inspection Post (BIP), importers must first go through the CEXVEG system to make an appointment for inspection.

When certificates are used for the export or import of plant products, there are several sections in the CEXVEG application.

For each CEXVEG transaction, a shipment must have complete information, including a code used to identify the tariff treatment, a species name, the number of packages and the number of the phytosanitary certificate that is in the shipment.

CEXVEG provides additional means to ensure documented control of phytosanitary certificates, bills of lading and invoices, such as the inclusion of these papers in the database.

The CEXVEG system is used for carriers to report the products they load. Importers of the goods must also adhere to the sanitary inspection requirements.

The fact that the shipment of plant products by courier or mail is also subject to phytosanitary inspection has already been indicated above.

Importing commercial carriers must also be registered as importers and use the CEXVEG system to declare the goods.


Documentation for Phytosanitary inspection

The import and export of plants and plant products requires the following documentation:

  • The Phytosanitary Passport: an intra-EU document that guarantees that plant products, plants and other items have been inspected and/or treated to comply with current regulations on phytosanitary controls and/or treatments. In this way, these products can move freely through the EU Free Trade Zone.
  • The Phytosanitary Certificate: is used to export to other nations and is subject to the phytosanitary laws in force in the importing or destination country. Companies must register in the CEXVEG system and present a certificate to the Plant Health Service of the place where the exported products will be delivered.


Would you like us to help you with your Phytosanitary inspection?

If you are a company, you can have your phytosanitary inspection handled by Connecta.

We will provide you with an experienced service from our specialists so that you can complete all the necessary formalities for your products to pass phytosanitary inspection.

Concern about the possible transfer of potentially dangerous organisms to the environment and human food discourages the export and import of fresh fruits and vegetables.

Therefore, we recommend that you hire specialists in the field as advisors and consultants throughout the phytosanitary inspection process.

With Connecta we can make it happen and you will not incur any additional costs or interruptions, as we use efficient and reliable procedures.


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