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So you want to be a food importer?

Here's your 6-step guide to slicing through the red meat red tape:

1. Start with the Procedure of Certification for your foodstuff. Is it a raw ingredient (hamburger) or a finished product (chips)? The difference is a vital one, for each requires a different battery of tests.

2. Present a sample of your food to the State Health Institute for lab tests. If everything is OK according to the law, then apply to the Ministry of Health for an Import License.

3. When you receive the correct and complete license form, present it along with your lab reports (see step 2) to the Slovak Agricultural and Food Inspectorate. The Inspectorate will examine your product from the customer's point of view, looking at packaging and product quality.

4. If the Inspectorate issues a certificate, then several courses are possible, as follows:

a. If your product contains sugar, pastry or cocoa, you need a license from the Ministry of Trade because of Slovakia's sugar quota. This license, if issued, must be renewed quarterly.
b. If you want to import meat, you must:
- i. go to the District Veterinary Authority to apply for an inspection of your storage conditions, which varies according to the type of meat you are dealing with.
- ii. take your certificate, if issued, to the National Veterinary Authority where you can pick up your meat, fishery, milk and dairy products license application.

5. The National Veterinary Authority will consider your application, a process whose length may depend on how much money you are willing to spend.

6. You will be issued an import license, which must be kept on the restaurant premises at all times, and presented to customs at the border whenever you get a shipment.

POSS ADDS

"An undertaking of great advantage, with no-one to know what it is"
-Prospectus of the South Sea Bubble

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