Restriction of imports from the Netherlands

Currently, 15 countries outside the European Union (EU) have taken to keep Schmallenberg out. These are mainly restrictions on the import of live animals, semen and embryos. The European Commission considers such import restrictions unjustified. The disease has a low economic impact and the risks of transmission of the virus through live animals, semen or embryos are low.

Additional Tests

Additional testing could provide additional assurances and thus revive trade. However, such tests are costly. Within the EU it has therefore been agreed that member states will not make individual agreements on such additional tests for the time being.

Background information on Schmallenberg virus

In December 2011, a new animal disease was found in sheep and cows in the Netherlands: the Schmallenberg virus. The disease causes congenital abnormalities.

No risk to public health

There is no evidence that Schmallenberg virus can be transmitted to humans. The RIVM investigated over 300 people who work or live at farms where the Schmallenberg virus was found, or whether infection was likely. In none of these people could a passed infection be demonstrated.

Characteristics virus

Schmallenberg virus has been found in sheep lambs, goat lambs, calves and adult cattle. The disease is new and it is unknown where it originated. However, initial studies indicate that the virus is similar to Akabanevirus, a known pathogen in ruminants in Asia and Australia. Schmallenberg virus is likely transmitted by midges (a type of insect).

Misvormde lammeren

In sheep, the virus is characterized by congenital abnormalities in lambs. For , the animals have a crooked neck, a water head and stiff joints. Most deformed sheep lambs are stillborn. Live-born animals are not viable. The ewes show no signs of disease.

Sick cows and reduced milk production

Infected cattle have diarrhea and fever. The animals also give less . In August and September 2011, these symptoms were reported in cows at over 80 cattle farms in the Netherlands. It is assumed that the Schmallenberg virus was the cause of this. Those animals have recovered.

Schmallenberg virus in malformed calves

Since 23 January 2012, the Schmallenberg virus has also been demonstrated in calves in the Netherlands. That the virus would also be demonstrated in calves was to be expected. The animals were infected in the same period as the sheep and goats. The infection was detected later than in lambs because the gestation period of a cow is longer. Also, on sheep farms several lambs are often born at a time, while on cattle farms it is often 1 calf per birth.

Spread of the disease

On the Dutch website, there is a summary map with locations of farms where Schmallenberg virus has been demonstrated, and a report showing, for each province, how many farms have been shown to have Schmallenberg virus, how many farms have not been shown to have Schmallenberg virus after investigation, and how many farms are still under investigation.

Test Method

After a notification, the deformed animals born on the farm will be tested for the presence of Schmallenberg virus. It is possible that the virus will not be found in this test, as the infection has already taken place earlier in the gestation period. In order to be able to investigate whether (parent) animals on the farm have been infected with the Schmallenberg virus before, a test has been developed which will show antibodies against the Schmallenberg virus in the blood.

Do not cull or close farms

The birth of deformed animals is due to an infection that occurred a few months ago. The virus is probably transmitted by insects (midges and possibly mosquitoes). In winter, these insects are not active and the chance of further spread is minimal. Therefore, there is now no reason to cull infected animals or close down farms. The virus is not (European) notifiable or controllable. However, it is being investigated whether the virus is also passed on in other ways.


We are a Food Tech firm in Food Safety Compliance. Experts in setting up and maintaining Food Safety Systems for companies in the Food Supply Chain. We are dedicated to breaking down the barriers for Transparency and Trust in the Global Food Supply Chain.
In our Partnership Program we would like to work together with (Non)Governmental Organizations, Universities, Multinationals and Food companies.

iMIS Food Global is a fully equipped Food Safety platform for developing countries. Unique is the installation of an iMIS Food server at the Food company, for online and offline availability.
The online (no travel costs) iMIS Food implementation process includes 6 to 10 days of support and has a lead time of 3 months.


Monthly iMIS Food Update

Would you also like to receive the monthly iMIS Food Update and be invited to our events? Then please fill in this form.

Food Safety news 5-2022

QAssurance collaboration with Profound

To unite forces QAssurance has collaborated with Profound, the company has an immense knowledge and experience in working in developing countries.

African emerging countries and their market attractiveness

In this article you can read more about African emerging countries and their market attractiveness.
Food safety africa

BRC, IFS, and FSSC 22000 Certification: overview of eleven countries

This page will contain information about Food Safety certification in different countries. In total there are 38.461 companies in eleven countries with a BRC, IFS, or FSSC Food Safety certification.  Discussed will be the countries: Germany, Denmark, Belgium, France, Spain, Italy, United Kingdom, Poland, Sweden, India, and The Netherlands.