Finished goods imported for distribution and sale in Egypt must be labeled in Arabic with the country of origin, the manufacturer’s name and the product description. Specific additional requirements apply to foods, drugs and textiles. Labels/stickers on imported cargo should contain all required information about the cargo. Importers are no longer permitted to fix printed labels to products after import.
Imported food has number of labeling and packaging requirements:
- Poultry and meat products must be shipped directly from the country of origin to Egypt and sealed in packaging with details in Arabic both inside and outside the package.
- Appropriate packaging must be provided for food products. These should be clean and odorless to preserve the product and prevent damage.
- Production and expiration dates must be clearly displayed on the product’s packaging in Arabic. The label must include:
- Name and address of manufacturer
- Brand or trademark (if applicable)
- Country of origin
- Type of product
- Name and address of importer
- Production and expiration dates
- Product use instructions (optional)
- Storage instructions or storage temperature
- Net weight
- Gross weight and total number of packages per case or carton
- If preservatives are being used- percentages of each preservative must be indicated
- If meat or poultry, the statement that the meat “is slaughtered according to Islamic ritual or “Halal” must be included
Article 74 of Egypt’s import and export regulations stipulates that the package should be fit for preserving the product, and the product should occupy the space of the container in full. If a container is wooden, the container itself should be accompanied by an official certificate that states it is free from wood-harmful pests and insects.
For Tools and Machines, data that appear on equipment, tools and machinery should be identical to those appearing on the package. The country of origin should be indicated on each item and be non-erasable. They should be accompanied with an Arabic-language catalogue indicating the following:
- An illustrative design of the parts
- Mode of assembly and operation
- Maintenance procedure
- Electrical circuits for electrical equipment
- Safety measures
Products prone to rust and corrosion should be painted with a special protective paint. Check that the labeling on the goods conforms to the current Egyptian labeling regulations for the product in question. Be aware that packaging and import description discrepancies can lead to payment default.
Multiple product samples
Sampling and inspection duties are mainly carried out by GOEIC; however, some products may be subject to inspection by other relevant institutions. GOEIC has been authorized to assume inspection and certification functions without referral to any higher authority, but for the food industry, for example, there are several entities that have the right to take samples from any imported shipment:
- Radiation Department of the Ministry of Energy and Electricity
- Ministry of Health and Population
- The National Food Safety Agency (NFSA)
- Ministry of Agriculture (Veterinary Office)
- Ministry of Trade, Industry, and Investment (Export and Import Control)
Each agency draws its own sample and tests it independently.
The Ministerial Decree No. 477/2018 obligates producers and importers to abide by the Egyptian Standard ES 7322 which specifies the basic specifications for the health and safety of products made of all kinds of raw materials, whether natural leather, industrial alternatives, synthetic leather, polymers, fabric, or a mixture of them.
Shelf-life standards and product specifications
In 1994, the government issued a decree that all food products should have at least 50 percent of the established shelf life remaining at the time of importation into Egypt. Moreover, Egypt applies shelf-life standards to certain non-food imports such as syringes and catheters. Milk and dairy products, meat and meat products, fish and fish products, and poultry and poultry products have a shelf life determined by the Egyptian Organization for Standards (EOS). Exporters to Egypt must be aware that import and customs procedures take a period of no less than two weeks; hence, expiration dates must be at least twice that length of time.
The Ministerial Decree No. 100/2019 obligates producers to abide by the Egyptian Standard ES 2613-2 which partially modified the shelf life for dairy and its products, which are refrigerated at a temperature not exceeding 5ºC (especially Labneh), from 4 months to 6 months.