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
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
- World Organization for Animal Health
- the FAOs Secretariat of the International Plant Protection Convention: for plant health.
- See also FAO and WHO
- See also Work on SPS in the WTO, below
- Current issues in SPS
Explanations of current issues and links to follow latest developments
to WTO rules on sanitary and phytosanitary
Links to part of the standards and safety section of the WTO guide Understanding the WTO”
(Click your browsers back button to return to this page.)
the SPS Agreement (text only)
A more technical introduction
- SPS E-Learning Course : WTO E-Campus
- 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 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 last chair was .
back to top
Notification formats, handbooks, links to members’ SPS websites and other aids for members’ transparency work in SPS.
back to top
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.back to top
- 27 February 2018: Thematic Session on Pest-free areas
- 8 November 2016: SPS & TBT Notification Alert System “ePing” launched
- Specific Trade Concerns 1995-2016 report
- Agreement on a new mediation procedure to solve SPS-related issues
- TF vs SPS: Find out more about the relationship between the TF and SPS Agreements in this brief informal note prepared by the WTO Secretariat
- Dates of meetings of the Committee on Sanitary and Phytosanitary Measures for 2018
- SPS Technical Assistance Activities for 2017
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 (email@example.com) so that their National Notification Authorities can receive login names and access passwords.
As of 6 July 2017, 77 Members have requested and been given access to the system, and 41 of these have officially submitted notifications via the SPS NSS.