MAST is a Government institution under the responsibility of the Minister of Fisheries and Agriculture. MAST is responsible for implementing government policy on animal health and handling of animal products. MAST enforces laws and regulations regarding animal management, disease control and surveillance.

Furthermore, MAST is the Competent Authority responsible for enforcing laws and regulations regarding the slaughtering, processing and distribution of animals and their products and is responsible for controlling import and export of animal products in Iceland. The District Veterinarian is ultimately responsible for MAST function as the Competent Authority regarding the slaughtering, processing and distribution of animal products at the local level. The district veterinary system focuses on ensuring that animal products from Iceland are processed under satisfactory hygienic conditions and that the consumer can rely on their wholesomeness and safety. On behalf of MAST regular inspections of hygiene, equipment and internal control systems in slaughterhouses and processing plants are made by the District Veterinarian. Upon recommendation by MAST the Minister of Fisheries and Agriculture authorizes slaughterhouses, cold stores and meat cutting plants provided official standards are met.  If the authorization standards are no longer met MAST recommends the appropriate action, warnings or withdrawals of certification and permits.

In order for the district veterinarian on the local level to be able to represent the reliability of the internal control within the chain of documentation in processing wholesome food and processed foodstuff the veterinarian carries out checks continuously in the plants. These internal checks are based on checklists which form the fundamental basis for a Document of loading accompanying a consignment, which is under customs protection in transport from an establishment to the exporting port.  The Document of loading is signed by the district veterinarian before the consignment leaves the authorized establishment. This is the official certification on behalf of MAST until the shipment reaches the port of export.  Export certificates are issued centrally at the Office of Import and Export at MAST.

A Checklist is to be filled out by a District Veterinary Officer issuing a Loading Document for a consignment of animal product to be exported from Iceland.

Below is an example of a checklist forming the basis for the issue of a Document of Loading, signed by a District Veterinarian at local level:

Checklist: Internal control in relation to export


  Date: ___________________________________
  Responsable Person: ___________________________________
  Container/Shipment/Seal nr: ___________________________________
  Name and Nr. of Establishment: ___________________________________
  Consignor: ___________________________________
  Consignee: ___________________________________


In order: 

Not in order 



Bulk box





Labelling of bulk box





Seal on bulk box









Products condition




Cardboard boxes





Labels on cardboard boxes




Seal on cardboard boxes





Plastic bags




Labelling of product





Health mark




Vacuum bags





Packing list






  Comments: ___________________________________
  Result: ___________________________________
  Signature: ___________________________________

Requirements: Outer package

Package must fulfil all sanitary demands:

  • The package may not alter the quality of the product.
  • No materials dangerous to animal and public health may be transmitted from the package.
  • The package must be strong enough to protect the product adequately during transport and handling.
  • Wooden package is forbidden.
  • Must be clean and whole.
  • Only NEW bulk boxes and cardboard boxes can be used.

Requirements: Inner package

  • When packing meat and meat products this shall be done immediately after cutting according to hygienic standards laid down by the appropriate legal acts and regulations.
  • During transport all meat cuts shall be packed in an inner packing material, unless transported hanging in whole carcasses or in closed bulk boxes. Inner packing materials must be transparent and colourless.
  • It is forbidden to use used inner packing materials for meat. 
  • Inner packing materials intended for packing quick-frozen meat intended as material for minced meat or processed meat products may be coloured.
  • It is forbidden to mix livers, kidneys and heartsfrom different animal species in packaging. 
    Meat in inner packaging shall be packed in outer package material to avoid pollution and damage under storage and transport.
  • All inner and outer packaging materials must be protected by cover materials in order to protect these from pollution while transported from the establishment of production to the meat packaging plant, and kept in special storage rooms which meet hygienic requirement set out by MAST. These storage rooms must be free of dust and rodents and no airflow may occur between the storage room and facilities where chemicals or other materials are stored which might pollute meat. Packaging materials may not be stored on the floor. Utmost hygienic principles must be kept during transportation of packaging materials into the cutting facilities and these shall be used without delay. The transportation of packaging materials into the cutting facilities shall be done by different staff from those working with the cutting of the meat. Immediately after packaging the meat shall be moved to appropriate storage facilities. It is banned to pack meat cuts of different animal species into the same inner package at the same time.

Health marks

The District Veterinarian or the Controlling Veterinary Officer, employees of MAST, is responsible for the proper identification of all products through health marks by checking health stamps, seals, marking labels and packing materials with health marks on them. The health mark is oval with the word ICELAND on the upper side, the approval number of the relevant establishment in the middle and Iceland’s identification letters IS at the bottom. The size of the health mark shall be 4.5x6.5 cm and the letters should be approximately 0.8cm in height.

Carcasses shall be clearly marked by official meat stamps according to rules laid down below. All other identification (stamping) of meat by other means or methods is banned.

  • Carcasses of sheep and goats shall be stamped on 6 locations, each half of carcass in 3 places, on the shoulder, the side and hind leg. Carcasses of young calves shall be identified in the same manner.
  • Carcasses of pigs, foals and larger calves shall be stamped on 12 locations, each half of carcass in 6 places, on the shoulder, the chest, the side, the front of the back, the hind of the back and the outside of the hind leg. The head of pigs shall be stamped on one location on each side.
  • Carcasses of horses and cattle shall be stamped on 24 locations, each half of carcass in 12 places, on the neck, the chest, upper shoulder, inside of hind leg and outside of hind leg.
  • One stamp should be used on livers of pigs and cattle and one on hearts of animals intended for export. 
  • On all other products either tags with health mark or imprinted health marks on packaging materials are used
  • De-boned, packed meat and other packed products shall be identified with the health mark of the packing plant. The health mark is put on the inner packing material or imprinted in the material securing that it will be destroyed by  opening the package. If outer packaging materials are destroyed by opening  the package the health marks are not necessary  destroyed. Labels with health marks come in pre-numbered series.
  • Fresh meat in consumer packaging shall bear health marks. It is allowed to minimize the health mark in appropriate proportions. If fresh meat is re-packed the inner packing materials shall bear the health mark of the packing establishment but the outer packaging must bear the markings of the distribution facility.

Labelling of outer packaging

Labels on the outer packaging must be in English OR the language of choice by the importer, example in Russian if the product is intended to be imported to Russia. Further information can be provided if considered necessary or requested.

The minimal requirements for information on the labels are as follows:

  • Name, address and approval number of establishment: slaughterhouse or packing plant
  • Name and address of consignor
  • Name and address of consignee
  • Description of content
  • Slaughter date
  • Packing date
  • Best before date
  • Net weight

Health Certificates

  • All exported products are certified by MAST by an Official Certificate of Origin of Health
  • The certificates are in accordance with the requirements of the importing country. For example every certificate used for products intended for the European Union is in accordance with requirements laid down by the EU. The same applies for every other importing country, MAST certifies only in accordance with the requests made by the importing country.
  • Certificates are only issued, signed and stamped by MAST, the Office of Import and Export.
  • In the certificates it is verified that the products concerned are from animals bred, born and reared in Iceland which have been inspected  and found fit and healthy, before and after slaughter, and that the products have been handled according to both domestic and the importing countries laws and regulations.
  • The products concerned must comply with the demands and requirements of the importing country without any exception. The same applies for the certificate accompanying the product.
  • The Certificate of Origin and Health is issued according to requirements signed and stamped by MAST, the Office of Import and Export, provided all necessary underlying documents are in place; the Document of Loading from the appropriate District Veterinarian, pictures of the products the container and seal, packing list and information concerning shipment number whether by ship or aircraft. All relevant laboratory results must be in place. These documents are verified and checked by the office and archived in paper and in a computer system where they can be accessed and monitored.
  • In the certificate the following is verified; the type of product, the number of carcasses, weight, number and specifications. The name, address and authorization number of the slaughterhouse, slaughter date, freezing date, the name and address of the consignor and consignee as well as flight number and/or name of vessel and departing date.
  • The District Veterinarian or an Official Veterinarian must certify the loading and sealing of containers and send the Document of Loading to the Office of Import and Export at MAST as soon as the loading has taken place. In this document the shipment is identified by certificate number, type of product, weight, container number and number of seal.

Certificates must be in English OR the language of choice by the importer, example in Russian if the product is intended to be exported to Russia.