Identification marks on PoAO

Most products of animal origin must have an identification mark on the packaging. The identification mark (ID mark) consists of the country of origin name or ISO code plus the approval number of the establishment. The ID mark can be applied only in the premises where the product is packaged so must be present on the packaging at the time of import. It cannot be applied retrospectively.  Detailed requirements can be found in Annex II of Regulation (EC) 853/2004

Occasionally imports are presented which correctly bear the ID mark of the premises of origin in the exporting country but which also bear an ID mark of an establishment in the EU. Such consignments will be refused import as ID marks can be applied only in the premises indicated in the mark and cannot bear the identification mark of another premises in which they have never been present.


Requirements for the date of production and the date of freezing

For frozen food of animal origin destined for further processing or labelling before being sold to the final consumer. Regulation (EC) 853/2004 Annex II Section IV requires that the food business operator to whom the food is supplied must be provided with the:-

  • date of production
  • date of freezing (if different from the date of production)

This information must also be supplied on request to the competent authority which at the time of import is Port Health. There is no requirement that this information is added to the packaging, and the form that this information takes is left open to the supplier.  The only requirement is that this information is clearly made available to the food business operator to whom the food is supplied in an easy to understand and retrievable way. For example this could be achieved by adding it to the commercial documentation accompanying the import.

This requirement does not apply to food that is already packaged for the final user i.e. for the consumer or mass catering.


Date of Production

The meaning is defined in the regulation as:-

  • the date of slaughter in the case of carcasses, half carcasses or quarter carcases;
  • the date of killing in the case of bodies of wild game;
  • the date of harvesting or catching, in the case of fishery products;
  • the date of processing, cutting, mincing or preparation, as appropriate, for any other food of animal origin.

Where a food is made from a batch of raw materials with different dates of production and of freezing, the oldest dates of production and/or of freezing, as appropriate, must be made available.