The following report about Polish control system emphasizes some very common shortcomings, like the dispersion of inspections at local level and the lack of registration for many food businesses.
This report describes the outcome of a DG Health and Food Safety audit in Poland which took place from 25 June to 5 July 2019 under the provisions of Regulation (EC) No 882/2004 of the European Parliament and the Council of 29 April 2004.
The objectives of the audit were to assess the system of official controls in the area of food hygiene to prevent microbiological contamination in the production of food of non-animal origin, notably as primary production, frozen products, sprouts and seeds intended for sprouting.
There is a system for registering primary producers and the approval of processors (freezing and cutting) of fruit and vegetables of food of non-animal origin. Although the
number of registrations of primary producers has increased since the last DG Health and Food Safety audit in 2016, the number of unregistered producers is not known by the competent authority. Official controls are supported by official samples, mainly taken at retail level and appropriate official laboratories are available.
However, the planning of official controls shows deficiencies regarding the prioritisation of official controls of food of non-animal origin, and regarding the effective implementation of official controls at processing establishments.
In addition, the dispersion of inspections over many local districts does not allow inspectors to gain and maintain sufficient experience in this field in order to perform effective controls. As a result, official controls cannot always be implemented effectively, resulting in inadequate controls at some processing establishments. This has an impact on enforcement, as relevant non-compliances were rarely detected at processors.
Environmental swabs to detect Listeria monocytogenes were only in one of three processors visited taken correctly, and the responsible official inspectors were not aware of the correct procedures to take these samples.
This has a negative impact on the effectiveness of official controls aimed at verifying that (potential) microbiological risks are adequately detected and reduced to an acceptable level by the food business operators.