Indexed on: 24 Feb '16Published on: 24 Feb '16Published in: PloS one
The import of products of animal origin (POAO) in travellers' personal consignments presents a considerable risk of introducing animal diseases and emerging zoonoses into the European Union. The current regulation (EU) 206/2009 implements strict measures for illegally imported POAO, whereupon non-complying products have to be seized and destroyed regardless. Especially airports serve as global bottlenecks for illegally imported POAO where passenger controls of non-European flights are performed by customs and veterinary services in collaboration. Results of these control measures have to be submitted in the form of annual reports to the European Commission. However, few data on qualities and quantities of seizures have been published so far. In this study, POAO seized at two German airports between 2010 and 2014 were analysed in terms of quantities, qualitative categories and region of origin. In most years considered, more than 20 tonnes POAO were seized at each airport. However, reported amounts of seizures seem to be only the tip of the iceberg as an all-passenger control is not feasible and therefore travellers are only spot-checked. The analysis suggests that the organisational structures of both customs and official veterinary services and their different risk perceptions interfere in completing an effective ban on the illegal import of POAO.