STC Number - 6

Importation of cheese

Maintained by: Canada
Raised by: European Union
Supported by: Switzerland
First date raised: May 1996 G/SPS/R/5 para. 14
Dates subsequently raised:
Number of times subsequently raised: 0
Relevant documents: G/SPS/N/CAN/8 G/SPS/GEN/1051
Products covered: 04 Dairy produce; birds' eggs; natural honey; edible products of animal origin, not elsewhere specified or included; 0406 Cheese and curd.
Primary subject keyword: Food safety
Keywords: Equivalence; Food safety; Human health
Status: Resolved
Solution: In October 2010, the European Union indicated that the issue was resolved (G/SPS/GEN/1051) (G/SPS/R/61, par. 47).
Date reported as resolved: 13/10/2010

Extracts from SPS Committee meeting summary reports

In May 1996, the representative of the European Communities brought the Committee's attention to a Canadian notification regarding a proposed requirement that cheese be pasteurized or produced from pasteurized milk in order for it to be marketed and sold in Canada (G/SPS/N/CAN/8). In his view, current legislation in force in the European Communities regarding, inter alia, production requirements, safe and correct sourcing and subsequent supervision in the various production stages from farm to consumer (Milk Hygiene Directive 9246), provided at least equivalent guarantees in terms of food safety as pasteurization. Canada was urged to consider the scientific basis and facts of the matter, taking into account relevant discussions in the Codex, and to consider the issue in the light of the equivalency provisions of the SPS Agreement (Article 4). The representative of the European Communities observed that a number of Members maintained restrictive practices in relation to the import of raw milk cheeses from the European Communities that were likewise not justifiable on health grounds. The Swiss delegation supported the views expressed by the representative of the European Communities. The representative of Canada noted that scientific documentation in support of the proposal would be provided upon request and that an Expert Advisory Committee had been appointed to examine the matter.

In October 2010, the representative of the European Union presented an updated list on specific trade concerns raised in the SPS Committee (G/SPS/GEN/1051). The updated list contained 14 issues, with one of them being this particular concern, that the European Union considered as having been resolved. The European Union encouraged Members to update the list of specific trade concerns raised in the Committee, and congratulated its trading partners on the cooperation on those issues. The Chairman urged other Members to systematically go through all the specific trade concerns raised in the Committee to identify those they considered as having been settled.