Planning to import and sell pet products in the European Union? In this guide, we cover the essential EU regulations and standards, including documentation and testing requirements applicable to your pet products.
Notice that regulations covering pet food, drugs or electronic pet accessories are not included in this article.
- Pet toys
- Pet leashes
- Pet collars
- Pet bowls
- Pet beds
Pet Product Safety Standards
While pet food products are strictly regulated by the European Pet Food Industry Federation (FEDIAF) in the EU, other pet products such as accessories are less regulated.
Currently, there are no mandatory EU regulations that are specific for pet products, excluding food, drugs and related products.
This doesn’t imply that pet products are completely unregulated as they might be covered by general consumer product regulatory frameworks like the General Product Safety Directive (GPSD), REACH, or other regulations.
Some testing companies provide independent testing against various national and international standards and regulations such as ASTM F963 or EN 71 standards.
Pet product testing might include:
- Azo dyes colorant testing
- Heavy metal content testing
- Colorfastness to saliva testing
- Toxins testing
- Safety assessment
REACH regulates chemical substances in products imported and sold in the EU. As such, REACH also applies to pet products.
Here are some examples of regulated substances under REACH:
- Chromium VI
Pet products containing excessive amounts of restricted substances are not legal to import and sell in the EU.
Substance of Very High Concern (SVHC)
The European Chemicals Agency (ECHA) updates the SVHC list by adding more regulated substances on a non-regular basis.
Importers don’t necessarily need to keep track of the list of all regulated substances to ensure the product’s compliance; instead, a third-party testing company accredited by the EU shall test the product against the updated list of restricted substances.
A product imported and sold in the EU must always be compliant, and third-party testing is the only way to confirm the REACH compliance of your pet product.
You should book a REACH compliance test before your products enter the EU. Also, you should inform your supplier regarding REACH compliance before placing the order and make sure he understands what this implies.
Here we list some REACH compliance testing companies:
- Bureau Veritas
For more testing companies’ information, you can find more in this guide.
In general, REACH compliance testing costs around $200 per material. However keep in mind that the final quotation depends on the number of colors, size, and material.
You can learn more about REACH lab testing in this guide.
General Product Safety Directive
The General Product Safety Directive (GPSD) is a wide-scope regulation that has the purpose of ensuring that all products sold in the EU are safe. This applies also in the case of products for which no specific safety standards have been defined yet. Hence, the GPSD is applicable to pet products as well.
Generally speaking, you need to determine the applicable standards for your products and provide a conformity assessment according to the product characteristics and possible hazards.
As such, pet accessories and other related products that are deemed as unsafe can be subject to a forced recall, even if there are no mandatory standards specifically for this product category.
To establish the potential safety hazards for customers, it is recommended to provide a risk assessment document, and a list of applicable standards (if any).
Following certain EN standards is generally voluntary (unless required by a directive/product regulation). That said, EN standards can be utilized at a product design stage to ensure that the product is safe to use.
EN standards also provide testing methods and procedures, which serve as an excellent reference point when it comes to verifying that your pet products and other accessories reach high quality and safety standards.
Note: The General Product Safety Directive (GPSD) requires that all products imported and sold in the European Union are safe for the consumer. This is the case even if no mandatory product-specific standards, directives or other regulations apply. It’s therefore in your interest to follow relevant EN standards when designing and manufacturing products.
The GPSD is not under the CE marking directive. That means the CE marking is not required unless your product is covered by one or more of the 25 CE marking directives. Electronic pet toys and accessories, for instance, must be CE marked.
Safety Data Sheets (SDS)
When selling certain pet products on Amazon and other marketplaces, you may need to issue an SDS prior to importing and selling the product.
Here are some examples of pet products that require you to provide SDS:
- Pets ear and eye care;
- Flea, fly, mosquito, lice and tick control;
- Itch remedies for pets;
- Pet deodorizers;
- Aquarium glass cleaners;
- Aquarium water treatments and test kits.
If you are not sure how to prepare and SDS for your pet products, ECHA provides guidance to facilitate the implementation of SDS for REACH.
In their website, you can find useful SDS information such as:
- Who should compile an SDS;
- SDS format;
- Language requirement;
- How to ensure consistency and completeness of SDS;
- SDS attachment requirement.