Import Laws in Spain

Written by kelly kaczmarek
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Import Laws in Spain
Spain keeps its beauty by regulating possibly dangerous imports to both the environment and its people. (bay in south of Spain image by Ivonne Wierink from Fotolia.com)

When shipping items overseas, it is very important to check the regulations of the receiving country to ensure the package reaches its destination in the proper amount of time. Certain restrictions apply in certain countries that if violated or proper documentation is not present will cause lengthy delays and costly shipping prices for the delivery of the product. European countries, because of their inter-connectivity, are especially careful as to what products are imported. Some nations, like Spain, significantly restrict certain imports to ensure the safety of their citizens.

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Food Import Laws in Spain

Due to the fact that Spain is a member of the European Union, Spain's major food import laws come from the E.U.'s legislation on the matter. Currently, imported food must pass certain requirements before shipment to ensure the safety and quality of food for the European consumer. Throughout the process of raising livestock for food, a competent veterinarian who can properly inspect and guarantee that the resulting food product came from a healthy animal and is safe for human consumption must be present. The food source must comply with E.U. chemical regulations to limit or eliminate pesticide, chemical residue and contaminant levels.

Acceptance of food only will be valid through a proper supplier and only will be allowed to enter Spain through proper border control points. An example of a legal supplier would be a slaughterhouse and the meat must be inspected by an E.U. commissioned Food and Veterinary Office to ensure quality before entry of product into Spain.

Personal submission of food, even if it is just a snack brought with you from overseas, is prohibited under E.U. law, as it has not been properly inspected by the correct authorities.

Spanish Labeling Laws

Spain's import labels also are regulated by the E.U. and are required to be written in Spanish upon entry into the country. The main regulations require a product to be listed by the name under which it will be sold. This must include the brand name on the label, but it may also include the generic name.

The ingredients also must be listed in descending order by how much they weigh in metric measurements. Also, certain ingredients must be listed by category because of food allergy reasons.

The label must include instructions for use, in the designated languages necessary, as well as an expiration or use-by date. Any additives or growth hormone use must be clearly labelled, as overuse of these ingredients might prohibit the sale and use of the product in Spain. Also, the manufacturer and place or plant of origin must be listed on the ingredients section for tracing the product should an issue occur.

Non-food Import Laws

Any non-food item must also be checked and declared, regardless of who is bringing the item into Spain. Some items, such as firearms, are only permitted under certain circumstances, while other items are permitted only in small quantities.

If you are entering Spain and your home country is within the E.U., laws are different for you than they are for anyone else who is attempting to enter Spain. Citizens of the E.U. are permitted to bring an unlimited amount of goods, provided these goods are for personal or familial use. Products are also allowed if they are gifts bought for non-commercial use.

Imports for individuals who are non-European Union citizens are very limited. If you are 17 years of age or older, you are allowed 200 cigarettes or 100 cigarillos, 50 cigars and up to 250g of smoking tobacco. You are permitted either a litre of spirits over 22 per cent alcohol or a non-denatured ethyl alcohol with more than 80 per cent volume, 2 litres of spirits or aperitifs made of wine or similar beverages less than 22 per cent volume or sparkling wines or liquor wines, 4 litres of wine, and 16 litres of beer. For each item (either alcohol or tobacco), you are only permitted one of each per category, excluding the wine and beer portion. You are allowed to have another type of alcohol in addition to these two alcoholic beverages.

Everyone is permitted medicines for personal use, as long as they do not exceed the amount necessary for the traveller's itinerary. Any other goods are allowed up to EUR 430 per adult ($530) or EUR 150 ($185) for individuals under the age of 15 as of 2010.

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