Products Not of Animal Origin (non-POAO)

This description applies to any products that are intended for human or animal consumption, that do not contain any ingredients derived from animals or animal products e.g. Spices, fruits and vegetables, nuts, confectionary, cereals, certain bakery products, herbs, spices, mineral water, fruit juices etc.

Importing through a suitable port

Most non-POAO may enter through any port, although importers should contact the port or the local authority in whose area the port is situated to check that the port has the necessary facilities in place to handle food. 

The legislation controlling non-POAO imported from non EU countries into the UK is Regulation (EC) No 882/2004 (articles 15-22), which is implemented in Scotland by the Official Feed and Food Controls (Scotland) Regulations 2009 (OFFC Regulations).

The Official Controls required are:

  • systematic documentary checks - this does not imply 100% checking of commercial documents but there should be risk-based planned arrangements in place
  • random identity checks, again these should be risk-based and
  • physical checks, where appropriate.

However, certain non-POAO will be subject to enhanced import controls where there are known or emerging risks, and can only lawfully enter via specific ports or airports that are approved to receive them.  These are known as high risk products. 

Imports of certain feed and food of non-animal origin, from certain non-EU countries, that are considered to be 'high-risk' can only enter the UK through specific ports and airports approved as Designated Points of Entry (DPEs) where official controls will be carried out.

A 'high-risk' product is feed or food that is either a known, or an emerging risk to public health.  This may be due to the presence of pathogens, toxins and contaminants.  A list of the 'high-risk' products, country of origin and the frequency of checks can be found at Annex I of Commission Regulation (EC) 669/2009 (as amended).

In addition, Commission Regulation (EU) 884/2014 imposes special conditions governing the import of certain foodstuffs from certain non-EU countries due to contamination risk by aflatoxins.

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