Sanitary and phytosanitary measures
Problem: How do you ensure that your countrys consumers are being supplied with food that is safe to eat safe by the standards you consider appropriate? And at the same time, how can you ensure that strict health and safety regulations are not being used as an excuse for protecting domestic producers?
An agreement on how governments can apply food safety and animal and plant health measures (sanitary and phytosanitary or SPS measures) sets out the basic rules in the WTO.
> SPS Notification Submission System
National Notification Authorities can now use the SPS Notification Submission System (SPS NSS) to fill out and submit SPS notifications online.
> SPS Information Management System
a database of WTO information on SPS (Notifications, concerns raised, other documents, enquiry points, etc)
Which are the relevant standard-setting organizations for the SPS Agreement? An annex to the agreement names:
> the FAO/WHO Codex Alimentarius Commission: for food
> the FAOs Secretariat of the International Plant Protection Convention: for plant health.
SPS news back to top
Includes unofficial and less technical summaries of SPS Committee meetings
- 24-25 October 2016: Thematic SPS Workshop on Pesticide Maximum Residue Levels (MRLs)
> See also Work on SPS in the WTO, below
Introduction back to top
- Current issues in SPS
Explanations of current issues and links to follow latest developments
Introduction to WTO rules on sanitary and phytosanitary measures
Links to part of the standards and safety section of the WTO guide Understanding the WTO”
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Understanding the SPS Agreement (text only)
A more technical introduction
SPS E-Learning Course : WTO E-Campus
The mandate back to top
Browse or download the text of the SPS Agreement from the legal texts gateway
WTO Agreements series: SPS — booklet containing the text of the SPS Agreement and an explanation designed to help the user understand the text.
Compilation of all major decisions and documents on the SPS Agreement’s implementation
Find decisions of WTO bodies concerning the SPS Agreement in the Analytical Index — Guide to WTO Law and Practice
Review of the operation and implementation of the Agreement of the application of sanitary and phytosanitary measures. Committee Report of the Third Review adopted in 2010.
The Doha mandate: SPS in the 2001 ministerial decision on implementation
Work on SPS in the WTO, and official documents back to top
Work on this subject is handled by the SPS Committee, which reports to the Goods Council. The work is officially recorded in the committee’s annual reports to the General Council and in summary reports (equivalent to minutes) of the committee’s meetings. The current chair is .
Subscribe here to receive all unrestricted SPS documents by e-mail, usually twice a week, normally only in the original language (English, French or Spanish).
Notification formats, handbooks, links to members’ SPS websites and other aids for members’ transparency work in SPS.
Find information on planned and recently held activities.
A joint initiative of the World Trade Organization, World Health Organization, World Bank, World Organization for Animal Health and Food and Agriculture Organization for enhancing developing countries’ capacity to meet SPS standards. Work includes sharing information on technical cooperation, and finance for projects.
Find links to relevant standard setting bodies, observer organizations, etc.
The SPS NSS allows for more accurate and complete notifications, and a substantial reduction in the time required for the WTO to process and circulate them. The system has been available to Members since 1 June 2011 upon request.
Interested Members are requested to send an e-mail to the Secretariat (firstname.lastname@example.org) so that their National Notification Authorities can receive login names and access passwords.
As of 19 October 2016, 71 Members have requested and been given access to the system, and 40 of these have officially submitted notifications via the SPS NSS.