Important information for food business operators regarding the consequences of the withdrawal of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland from the European Union without withdrawal agreement so-called “‘no deal” scenario:

If no other solution is found, most likely the United Kingdom will be a member of the European Union until October 31, 2019.

As a result, as of 1 November 2019, the United Kingdom will cease to be an EU country with all its consequences – all EU primary and secondary law will not apply to Great Britain.

The rules of trade with Great Britain will then be the same as with other countries outside the European Union. Based on the current information – there will be no transition period and Great Britain will be treated as a third country from November 1, 2019.

IMPORT of food of non-animal origin from Great Britain to Poland:

After BREXIT food of non-animal origin, some composite products and food contact materials imported from the United Kingdom which undergo customs clearance in Poland will be subject to border sanitary control carried out by the authorities of the State Sanitary Inspection according to provision set out in Articles 79 – 84 of the Act of 25 August 2006 on of food and nutrition safety (OJ 2019/1252) and Articles 15-24 provision of the Regulation (EC) No 882/2004 of the European Parliament and of the Council of 29 April 2004 on official Controls performed to ensure the verification of compliance with feed and food law, animal health and animal welfare rules (OJ L 165, 30.04.2004, p. 1).

Compulsory border control in Poland covers goods specified in the Regulation of the Minister of Health of 8th December 2011 on the list of goods which are subject to the border sanitary control (OJ 272/1612). This list includes food of non-animal origin, some composite foodstuffs  and materials and articles intended to come into contact with foodstuffs.

Border sanitary controls do not cover goods legally traded within the EU and placed on the Polish market within the framework of the common market on the principles of free movement of goods and mutual recognition (i.e. when goods have been customs cleared in another EU country).


Also other products than those listed in the abovementioned Regulation of the Minister of Health may be subject to border sanitary control in the event of suspicion or in case there is reason to believe that goods do not meet health requirements. The State Sanitary Inspection authorities are informed about such cases by the customs authorities[1]).

Border sanitary controls do not apply to goods in quantities indicating their non-commercial nature, including goods for the purpose of carrying out tests, experiments, for advertising purposes. It follows from the Article 79 paragraph 5 of the abovementioned Act. Border sanitary controls do not apply also to food of non-animal origin imported for personal use.

In accordance with art. 16 of Regulation (EC) No 882/2004 import controls include, inter alia, documentary check, random identity check and, where appropriate, physical check, including sampling for laboratory tests. Physical checks are carried out with the frequency which  depends on the risk assessment taking into account:

  1. a) the risks associated with different types of food;
  2. b) the history of compliance with the requirements for the product concerned of the third country and establishment of origin and of the food business operators importing and exporting the product;
  3. c) the controls that the food business operator importing the product has carried out;

(d) the guarantees that the competent authority of the third country of origin has given.

Physical checks may include verification of conditions of means of transport, packaging, labeling, temperature checks and sampling of goods for analysis and laboratory tests, as well as any other checks necessary to verify compliance with food law.

Border sanitary controls of goods (before release onto the UE market) take place routinely and are carried out at border crossings (e.g. sea port, road and rail border crossings) by state border sanitary inspectors.  Depending on the destination, route of transport and finally receipient’s / importer’s location such controls may be carried out by the poviat or border state sanitary inspectors on goods being customs cleared in Poland. In another words, state poviat sanitary inspectors carry out import controls of goods that have been imported into the EU under customs procedures (e.g. transit) which entered UE not via the Polish border, but another way e.g. Germany, and have not been customs cleared in other EU country. Such goods, in accordance with national regulations, are subject to border sanitary control in Poland, and then final customs clearance can be conducted.

As part of import controls, the application for border sanitary control submitted by the person responsible for the goods (importer) is checked as well as commercial and identification documents for a given batch of goods and other documents, including e.g. results of laboratory tests. As part of the physical checks, samples for laboratory tests may also be taken. Form of the abovementioned application is specified in the Regulation of the Minister of Health of February 14, 2007 on the form of the applications for the border sanitary control of foodstuffs and certificates of compliance with health requirements (OJ 2007/286).

After the border sanitary control finalized with a positive result, the competent authority of the State Sanitary Inspection issues, in accordance with art. 82 of the Act of 25 August 2006 on of food and nutrition safety, a certificate confirming the compliance with health requirements of imported foodstuff / material or article intended to come into contact with food. On the basis of this certificate, Polish customs authorities may carry out the final customs clearance of the goods.


However, if during the border sanitary control it is found that the product does not meet the food safety requirements, e.g. it contains chemical contaminants in an amount exceeding the set maximum level, it will not be authorized for marketing in the European Union. As a general rule – food placed on the market shall not be hazardous to human health and life, and the entity that produces or markets is responsible for its safety. It is based on Article 14 and 17 of the Regulation (EC) No 178/2002 of the European Parliament and of the Council of 28 January 2002 laying down the general principles and requirements of food law, establishing the European Food Safety Authority and laying down procedures in matters of food safety (OJ L 31, 01.02.2002, p. 1).

In connection with these provisions, the entity (importer) – responsible for food safety – shall ensure that food complies with the requirements of food law. The documentation that is checked as part of border sanitary control is a basis to confirm that food placed on the market, imported from third countries, complies with safety requirements. Such documents usually are: certificates, results of laboratory tests, importer’s declaration confirming that the food complies with applicable requirements.

In addition to border control of food at import, imported products placed on the Polish market can be checked at the trade in Poland as part of ongoing routine supervision, including sampling for laboratory tests.

EXPORT of food of non-animal origin from Poland to Great Britain:

 Official controls based on risk may be carried out by competent authorities in UK while food of non-animal origin is exported to the United Kingdom. In this case, you can get more information on the Food Standard Agency’s website

Information on the introducing of certain animal products into the European Union, including food containing products of animal origin for personal use, can be found on the Veterinary Inspection website—wazne-informacje

 [1]) According to the provisions of the Regulation (EC) No 765/2008 of the European Parliament and of the Council of 9 July 2008 setting out the requirements for accreditation and market surveillance relating to the marketing of products and repealing Regulation (EEC) No 339/93 (OJ L 218, 13.8.2008, p. 30) and the Regulation of the Minister of Health of 10th March 2010 on cooperation between the bodies of the State Sanitary Inspection and customs authorities in the field of border sanitary controls (OJ  2010/567).