Sanitary and phytosanitary measures

Problem: How do you ensure that your country’s 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.

See Also

Whose international standards?

Which are the relevant standard-setting organizations for the SPS Agreement? An annex to the agreement names:



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The mandate 

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Work on SPS in the WTO, and official documents 

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 .

> Search here for SPS documents


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Members’ transparency toolkit

Notification formats, handbooks, links to members’ SPS websites and other aids for members’ transparency work in SPS.


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Events, workshops and training  

Find information on planned and recently held activities.


Standards and Trade Development Facility (STDF)  back to top

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.

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Find links to relevant standard setting bodies, observer organizations, etc.

Committee meetings




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 protected]) so that their National Notification Authorities can receive login names and access passwords.

As of 9 July 2019, 85 Members have requested and been given access to the system, and 42 of these have officially submitted notifications via the SPS NSS.


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