Dutch Customs has an important function in the area of food safety* within Europe. Particularly at the Port of Rotterdam and Amsterdam Airport Schiphol, the service conducts documentation checks to verify whether certain foodstuffs have been supplied with the proper accompanying licenses/certificates. In other words: whether these products fulfil the safety requirements of the EU. These inspections are carried out under the direction of the Ministry of Economic Affairs and the Ministry of Public Safety, Health and Sport, and in cooperation with the Netherlands Food and Consumer Product Safety Authority (NVWA).
Customs conducts checks at two different stages: before the goods have entered Europe and before they are released into commercial traffic. In the first case they are checked to make sure the necessary documents have been supplied, and in the second whether the NVWA has declared that the product meets EU specifications. Customs has been granted access to the systems of the NVWA – responsible for what is called the correspondence control and material control of the shipment in question. When the chance exists that a product presents health risks for the user it is stopped at the EU border.
Click the buttons in the illustration to read more about this special and wide-ranging enforcement task of Dutch Customs.
* In this article the focus is on the safety of non-veterinary foodstuffs (products of non-animal origin).