Foodstuffs, animal products, animals, plants and means of production

Different requirements must be met when importing these types of products. In some cases, e.g. plants, the regulations of several federal offices may apply. The means of production must meet the specific requirements. Furthermore, simplified import conditions usually apply when importing from the EU rather than from Third Countries. This page contains the requirements for the most important product categories and lists the responsible authorities. Apart from non-tariff requirements (food safety, plant protection), there are also tariff requirements (customs) that must be met (see end of page for further details).

Foodstuffs, animal products and animals

The Federal Food Safety and Veterinary Office (FSVO) is mainly responsible for food safety requirements. Imported food must comply with the applicable Swiss food regulations. Simplified import conditions apply when importing animal products and animals from the EU. Imported organic food must meet the provisions of the Organic Farming Ordinance with the Federal Office for Agriculture FOAG overseeing its enforcement. The import of spirits is administered according to the Alcohol Ordinance, which is enforced by the Federal Customs’ Administration.  


The Federal Office for Agriculture FOAG and the Federal Office for the Environment FOEN jointly run the Federal Plant Protection Service FPPS. Its objective is to ensure that products are imported in accordance with relevant plant legislation. Some plants and plant products need a plant passport, issued by the FOAG, for them to be commercially traded with the EU and within Switzerland. Additional requirements may apply to certain plants, as is the case for protected plants and their products; in such cases an import permit is required, issued by the FSVO under the Species Protection legislation. Protected species must, in addition to the import permit, be accompanied by a CITES export permit, issued by the country of origin.

Means of production

Specific requirements apply to the means of production, which fall under the responsibility of the FOAG or the FSVO subject to the product category.

Customs regulations

Specific tariff measures apply in addition to non-tariff regulations when importing foods, germinal products, plants and plant products, animal products, livestock and tobacco from the EU and Third Countries (e.g. General Import Permits or quotas).

Specialist staff
Last modification 06.01.2023

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