Plants or plant-derived products intended for exportation may be subject to special requirements, defined by either the country of destination or the buyer, and applying to:
- phytosanitary safety,
- food safety,
- commercial quality.
Exports are subject to phytosanitary safety inspections covering any goods for which such an inspection is required under the laws of the country of destination. Exporters planning to ship plants, plant products or other goods abroad should find out whether an inspection is required. If so, they will have to make certain that the goods are free of specified harmful organisms and, to that end, employ a specific form of plant protection (plant surveillance and pest control) during the growing season or specific pre- and post-harvest treatments.
The health status of plants and/or plant products is attested to by phytosanitary certificates. The rules for issuing such certificates are laid down in international law, and specifically in the International Plant Protection Convention (IPPC) drawn up by the FAO (convention text) and the International Standards for Phytosanitary Measures (ISPM). The certificate is issued by the plant protection service of the exporting or re-exporting country if the phytosanitary importation laws of the country to which plants or products are shipped require such certificates to accompany the shipment. In addition, the phytosanitary laws of the importing country or importation permits issued by the relevant authorities of a given country specify the requirements to be met prior to the exportation to which the certificate is to attest. No certificates are required for moving shipments between member states of the European Union.
To learn more about the phytosanitary laws of third countries and the phytosanitary control of exported goods, see the website of the State Plant Health and Seed Inspectorate (here).
Specific food safety requirements may apply to exported plants and plant products intended for human consumption. These may relate to:
- production hygiene,
- product traceability,
- chemical, biological, and physical contamination.
The most common standards used in international food trade are those contained in The Codex Alimentarius drawn up in 1963 by the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) and the World Health Organization (WHO). The Codex Alimentarius is a collection of harmonized internationally adopted food standards, code practices, recommendations and guidelines aimed at protecting consumer health and ensuring fair practices in the food trade.
In addition to the standards set forth in the Codex Alimentarius, individual countries may adopt specific food safety requirements.
Note that producers in Poland and other EU member states are obliged to keep raw materials free of contaminants to the fullest practicable extent. The easiest way to prevent the contamination of agricultural raw materials is to put in place and abide by hygiene rules and basic production processes at all stages of production (cultivation, harvesting, storage, and transport).
Under hygiene regulations, primary producers are required to:
For more information on food safety regulations, see the website of the State Sanitary Inspectorate (www.gis.gov.pl) and the Ensuring Safe and Hygienic Food Production on Farm brochure.
Regarding the requirements concerning the use of plant protection products, note that the standards on the maximum permissible residue levels of active substances contained in plant protection products (Maximum Residue Levels, MRLs) vary from country to country. As indicated above, the Codex Alimentarius standards (here) are commonly used in the food trade. However, the EU has adopted a separate set of standards, as set out in Regulation (EC) 396/2005 (here). In addition, exportation to e.g. China is subject to yet another set of rules, as laid down in GB 2763 (here).
Due to differences in the active substance residues standards adopted by individual countries, the plants and plant products intended for consumption marketed in given countries must comply with those countries’ specific food safety rules. Such rules frequently prohibit the use of plant protection products containing banned active substances or place caps on the time limits permitted for such use. The requirements of the country of destination should be checked by the exporter. It is also advisable to check the batches of goods to be exported for pesticide residues to avoid subsequent return and disposal problems.
The plant protection recommendations that include specific plant protection product requirements, particularly for apples, are provided in the Integrated Plant Protection Programs section.
Commercial quality is comprised of the traits of an agri-food product, and specifically its organoleptic, physical, chemical, and microbiological properties associated with production technology, product size and weight, and requirements resulting from production, packaging, presentation, and labeling methods. Any agri-food products intended for export outside of the Polish customs area are exempt from the commercial quality requirements set out in the Polish Act of December 21, 2000 on the commercial quality of agri-food products, as long as they meet the requirements of the importer's country. Therefore, it is up to the exporter to determine which requirements pertaining to the commercial quality of plants or plant products, including agri-food products, apply in a specific case.
For more information on commercial quality control, see the website of the Trade Inspection of Agri-Food Products (here).
To facilitate the exportation of plants and/or plant products to any third countries in which specific plant protection (use of plant protection products) and phytosanitary safety requirements are in place, this website outlines the Integrated Pest Management and Integrated Plant Production approaches developed for this specific purpose along with recommendations and protection programs designed to help select plant protection products.
Project implemented as part of tasks 1.5
Multiannual Program of the IPP-NRI for 2016-2020
Plant Protection Institute – National Research Institute
Ulica: Władysława Węgorka 20
tel. +48 61 864 90 75
fax +48 61 864 91 20
Online Pest Warning System