All goods intended for human consumption (food and beverages) and for use or contact with the human body (medicines, cosmetics, wigs etc.) must be checked by the Border Health Office before the customs operation to determine their compliance with current sanitary regulations.
The European Union has issued its own regulations that must be applied by each member state, but it has also left regulatory discretion to each nation on this issue, so Italian regulations can also be very different from those applied in other member states.
If the examined goods are in compliance, the Border Sanitary Bureau will issue a “Nulla Osta” for their entry into the country and then proceed with customs formalities. If the goods do not conform, they will be rejected and normally sent back to the sender. Ultimately if such an operation poses a risk, destruction of the goods under customs supervision may be ordered.
A shipment subject to border health inspection may be transferred to an ASL for further investigation. To do so, it is necessary to apply for a “Clearance” for transit under customs control. Once obtained, the goods can be extracted from the bonded warehouse and delivered to the specified destination, reporting their arrival to the relevant ASL.
Goods intended for animal use or consumption are also controlled, but by an office that is the Border Veterinary Post. The procedures listed for the human side also apply to the animal side, and the same applies to the flora, which is checked by the Office of the Border Phytopathologist.