Legal Documents

Agreement on the application of sanitary and phytosanitary measures

This agreement concerns the application of sanitary and phytosanitary measures — in other words food safety and animal and plant health regulations. The agreement recognises that governments have the right to take sanitary and phytosanitary measures but that they should be applied only to the extent necessary to protect human, animal or plant life or health and should not arbitrarily or unjustifiably discriminate between Members where identical or similar conditions prevail.

This agreement concerns the application of sanitary and phytosanitary measures — in other words food safety and animal and plant health regulations. The agreement recognises that governments have the right to take sanitary and phytosanitary measures but that they should be applied only to the extent necessary to protect human, animal or plant life or health and should not arbitrarily or unjustifiably discriminate between Members where identical or similar conditions prevail.

In order to harmonize sanitary and phytosanitary measures on as wide a basis as possible, Members are encouraged to base their measures on international standards, guidelines and recommendations where they exist. However, Members may maintain or introduce measures which result in higher standards if there is scientific justification or as a consequence of consistent risk decisions based on an appropriate risk assessment. The Agreement spells out procedures and criteria for the assessment of risk and the determination of appropriate levels of sanitary or phytosanitary protection.

It is expected that Members would accept the sanitary and phytosanitary measures of others as equivalent if the exporting country demonstrates to the importing country that its measures achieve the importing country’s appropriate level of health protection. The agreement includes provisions on control, inspection and approval procedures.

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