Imports of food products

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This aggregated information from various different public authorities is aimed at you who plan to import food for commercial use. The rules and procedures differ depending upon whether you intend to trade with countries within the EU or outside the EU. These rules are intended to protect EU producers against low-priced imports and EU citizens against diseases and noxious pests.

For those who want to purchase food for private consumption, other rules are applicable. Further information can be found via the following links.

Read more about the import of food for private consumption, on the Swedish Board of Agriculture’s website (in Swedish)

Read more about importation of plants for private use, on the Swedish Board of Agriculture’s website

Read more about importation of alcohol for private consumption, on Swedish Customs’ website

EU Member States

Austria, Belgium, Bulgaria, Croatia, Cyprus, Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Ireland, Italy, Latvia, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malta, Netherlands, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden, United Kingdom.

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Within the EU

Rules relating to animal-based food for human consumption

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Marketing standards

The EU’s marketing standards are a kind of quality and product description. If you intend to trade any of the products below, follow the link and investigate if yours is subject to any marketing standards.

Trade standards for eggs (in Swedish)

Trade standards for fishery products (in Swedish)

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Special protective measures against animal diseases

The EU Commission sometimes issues rules specifically for the purpose of protecting humans and animals from contagious or harmful substances in food/feed, in order to safeguard their health. When various animal diseases break out, a temporary prohibition to bring in certain goods from the affected areas may be introduced.

Read more about protective measures in connection with animal diseases, on the National Food Agency’s website (in Swedish)

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Salmonella Policy and Rules

In order to avoid the transmission within the EU of salmonella in animal-based food for human consumption, it is only permissible to bring in goods to Sweden from approved facilities. Together with Finland, Sweden has adopted special rules for “salmonella guarantees.” The rules entail that certain goods must be approved in sampling before they may be imported into the country.

Investigate if the facilities you want to trade with is approved, and read more about salmonella guarantees, on the National Food Agency’s website (in Swedish)

Rules for plant-based food for human consumption

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Marketing standards

The EU’s marketing standards are a kind of quality and product description. If you intend to trade in any of the products below, follow the links and investigate which marketing standards your particular product is encompassed within.

Marketing standards for fruit and vegetables (in Swedish)

Marketing standards for olive oil (in Swedish)

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The National Food Agency’s list of fruits and vegetables subject to a prohibition on sale

The National Food Agency has a list of fruits and vegetables that contain pesticides at excessive levels. These goods may not be sold without the consent of the National Food Agency.

Check to see if your particular product is on the Swedish National Food Agency’s list on the National Food Agency’s website (in Swedish)

This is what you’ll need to look up

Does your product contain ingredients/components that are a threat to endangered animals or plants? Trade in endangered species is restricted, in accordance with the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES Convention).

Check to see if your product is encompassed within the CITES Convention, on the National Food Agency’s website (in Swedish)

Read more about the CITES Convention, on the CITES website

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Is your product a medicinal drug?

Many products are located in the grey zone in-between being a food or a medicinal product. A medicinal product is something that is used to prevent, treat or diagnose diseases/illnesses in humans and/or animals. When making your assessment, look into the product’s content and the seller’s description. A medicinal product must be approved or registered with the Swedish Medical Products Agency before it can be marketed and offered for sale.

Check if your product is a medicinal product, on the Swedish Medical Products Agency’s website (in Swedish)

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Will your product be transported with wooden packaging from Portugal or Spain?

If your product is to be shipped with some kind of beechwood wood product from Portugal or parts of Spain, it must be treated in order to comply with the ISPM 15 standard. The purpose of this is to prevent the spread of forest pests.

Read more about using wooden packaging from Portugal or Spain, on the Swedish Board of Agriculture’s website (in Swedish)

Start-up and register your company

If you do not already have a company, it’s high time to start one now. You can use checklists to help you to choose the form of business and structure, to formulate a business plan, and to register your company.

Read more about starting-up a company under “Starting"

Those who have a company need to register and make notifications regarding the company in several places in order to be able to be engaged in trade with foodstuffs.

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Register with the Swedish Board of Agriculture

The Swedish Board of Agriculture checks that foodstuffs in Sweden complies with the EU’s requirements for quality and origin labelling of fruit and vegetables. You will need to pay a fee for the quality control inspection.

Read more and register with the Plant Control Unit, on the Swedish Board of Agriculture’s website (in Swedish)

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Register with the municipality’s environmental management department

You will need to register with the municipality’s environmental management department. Contact your municipality offices and find out how it works where you live.

Read more under: E-services (in Swedish)

Get ready for the Swedish market

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Mark and label your product

Before you can sell your product on the Swedish market, the product must fulfil certain requirements concerning quality and labelling. You and your company are responsible for inspecting and approving the product. The National Food Agency then conducts random checks in order to ensure compliance with the rules.

Read more about how to mark and label your product, on the National Food Agency’s website (in Swedish)

Fishery and aquaculture products such as sea vegetables and algae are subject to special marking and labelling rules.

Read more about supplementary labelling of fishery products, on the National Food Agency’s website (in Swedish)

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Affiliate with a return system for bottles and metal cans

Plastic bottles and metal cans, for instance for beer, wine, water and soft drinks, must be included in an approved return system before they may be offered for sale in Sweden. The bottles and cans must be marked with the return system they are encompassed within, along with the amount of the deposit that is refunded when they are returned.

Read more about approved return systems, on the Swedish Board of Agriculture’s website (in Swedish)

Would you like to know more?

In addition to what you have already read, there is much more information available: 

Read more about the rules and obligations of food business owners, on the National Food Agency’s website (in Swedish)

Read more about the Swedish Food Act and how you are required to protect consumers, on the National Food Agency’s website

If you still have any questions, we will gladly assist in straightening them out (in Swedish)

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Livsmedelsverket/National Food Agency

Telephone no.: 018-17 55 00

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Swedish Board of Agriculture

Telephone no.: 0771-223 22

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Outside the EU

Rules relating to animal-based food for human consumption

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Approved countries and facilities for animal-based food for human consumption

Before a non-EU country is to export food of animal origin (meat, fish, milk, eggs or honey) to the EU, the country must be approved by the European Commission. The facilities in the country of origin must also be approved by the European Commission.

Check on the European Commission’s website to see if the country and facilities are approved for export of animal-based food for human consumption

Those who trade with suppliers/customers in Norway, Iceland and Switzerland do not need to check the country or facility. The EU has entered into a special trade agreement with these countries, which allows them to essentially be regarded as an EU country when it comes to trading in animal-based food for human consumption.

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Special protective measures for animal-based food for human consumption

The EU Commission sometimes issues rules specifically for the purpose of protecting humans and animals from contagious or harmful substances in food/feed, in order to safeguard their health. These rules may result in, for instance, import bans or requirements for special certifications. Protective measures are often directed towards certain products from a particular country.

Examine which protective measures are applicable for animal-based food for human consumption, on the National Food Agency’s website (in Swedish)

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Rules for fish and fishery products

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Rules for honey

Those who want to import honey need to be aware of some special rules.

Read more about importing honey on the National Food Agency’s website (in Swedish)

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Special rules for composite foodstuffs

Foods containing both animal and vegetable ingredients are called “composite foodstuffs.” There are special rules for composite products intended for human consumption.

Read more about composite foodstuff products on the National Food Agency’s website (in Swedish)

Rules for plant-based food for human consumption

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Special protective measures for plant-based food for human consumption

The EU Commission sometimes issues rules specifically for the purpose of protecting humans and animals from contagious or harmful substances in food/feed, in order to safeguard their health. These rules may result in, for instance, import bans or requirements for special certifications. Protective measures are often directed towards certain products from a particular country.

Examine the safeguard measures applicable to plant-based food for human consumption on the National Food Agency’s website (in Swedish)

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Phytosanitary Policy - plant protection rules

The purpose of the phytosanitary policy, commonly referred to as “plant protection rules,” is to prevent plant diseases and plant pests from spreading. The rules imply a ban on imports of certain fruits and vegetables from some countries and requirements for health certificates for certain fruits, vegetables and cereals from some countries. A health certificate certifies that the product is free from the plant pests regulated by the EU on importation.

Read more about the plant protection rules and investigate whether your product is subject to an import ban or health certificate requirements on the Swedish Board of Agriculture’s website (in Swedish)

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Marketing standards for fruit and vegetables

EU trade standards for fresh fruits and vegetables are a kind of quality and product description.

Read more about the marketing standards for fruit and vegetables on the Swedish Board of Agriculture’s website (in Swedish)

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The National Food Agency’s list of fruits and vegetables subject to a prohibition on sale

The National Food Agency has a list of fruits and vegetables that contain pesticides at excessive levels. These goods may not be sold without the consent of the National Food Agency.

Check to see your particular product is on the Swedish National Food Agency’s list on the National Food Agency’s website (in Swedish)

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Special rules for composite foodstuffs

Foods containing both animal and vegetable ingredients are called “composite foodstuffs.” There are special rules for composite products intended for human consumption.

Read more about composite foodstuff products on the National Food Agency’s website (in Swedish)

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Import license for certain goods

An import license may be required to trade with certain items. There are two types of import licenses: standard licenses and licenses linked to tariff quotas.

Read more about import licenses on the Swedish Board of Agriculture’s website (in Swedish)

Those who want to import rice, cereals and garlic may need a standard license.

Read more about import licenses for rice, cereals and garlic on the Swedish Board of Agriculture’s website (in Swedish)

There are also licences that are linked to tariff quotas. With them, you can pay lower taxes.

Read more about tariff quota licenses under the “Calculate Customs Duties and Other Charges” section (in Swedish)

This is what you’ll need to look up

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Is your product organic?

You can import organic food from countries that have been approved by the EU Commission. In connection with the submission of your customs declaration, you will need to file a certificate of inspection signed by a national inspection authority in the country.

Read more about importing organic food on the National Food Agency’s website (in Swedish)

Investigate if the country you want to import from is approved for export of organic food in the EU Commission’s Regulation (in Swedish)

Those who trade with Norway, Iceland, Switzerland and Lichtenstein do not need a license or authorisation; this is due to that the EU has entered into a special trade agreement with these countries.

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Does your product contain ingredients/components that are a threat to endangered animals or plants?

Trade in endangered species is restricted, in accordance with the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES Convention).

Read more about the CITES Convention on the CITES website

Readmore about CITES and investigate whether your product is encompassed within the CITES Convention on the Swedish Agriculture Agency’s website (in Swedish)

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Is your product a medicinal drug?

Many products are located in the grey zone in-between being a food or a medicinal product. A medicinal product is something that is used to prevent, treat or diagnose diseases/illnesses in humans and/or animals. When making your assessment, look for the product’s content and the seller’s description. A medicinal product must be approved or registered with the Swedish Medical Products Agency before it can be marketed and offered for sale.

Check if your product is a medicinal product on the Swedish Medical Products Agency’s website (in Swedish)

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Will your product be transported with wood packaging?

If your product is to be shipped with any kind of wood packaging, you should ensure that the wood is treated and labelled according to the ISMP 15 Standard. This is a requirement for importation to the EU, the purpose being to prevent the spread of plant pests.

Read more about wood packaging on the Swedish Board of Agriculture’s website (in Swedish)

Calculate customs duties and other charges

Calculate customs duties and VAT Keep in mind that final cost when importing a product will be more than the purchase price of the product alone. Both customs duties and VAT will be added. The customs duties is calculated on the basis of the customs value of the goods. The customs value of the goods is the purchase price of the product plus shipping and insurance costs up to the entry point in the EU. The customs duty rate depends upon the commodity code of the product. You can find the commodity code by classifying your product. The commodity codes are found in the Customs Tariff at tullverket.se. You can receive assistance in classifying the goods by contacting Swedish Customs at 0771-520 520.

Read more and calculate the customs value of your goods on Swedish Customs’ website (in Swedish)

Search for commodity codes in the Customs Tariff on Swedish Customs’ website (in Swedish)

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Lower customs duty with a certificate of origin

The EU has entered into free trade agreements with a number of countries, resulting in certain goods being charged lower customs duties, or no customs duty at all, when importing them. In order to be able to take advantage of such an agreement, the product must have its origination in that country and you will need to present a certificate of origin.

Read more and check if your product is encompassed within any free trade agreement on Swedish Customs’ website (in Swedish)

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Lower customs duties with a tariff quota

You may be able to pay less or no customs duties on certain goods during certain periods by applying for a part of a tariff quota. Such an application is made directly in your customs declaration.

Read more about tariff quotas and see if your product is encompassed within a tariff quota on Swedish Customs’ website (in Swedish)

Certain tariff quotas are referred to as “license quotas”. This means that you need to apply for a license in order to qualify for the quota.

There are also standard licenses that are not linked to tariff quotas. There are licenses that are required before importing certain plant-based food for human consumption. Learn more about standard licenses under the “Rules for plant-based food for human consumption.”

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Charges for border inspection

You may be required to pay various fees for the inspection of your product at the border.

The National Food Agency will charge fees for sampling, analysis and document verification. Payment to the Swedish National Food Agency is made either by way of advance payment or via providing a bank guarantee.

Read more about fees and payment for animal-based food for human consumption on the National Food Agency’s website (in Swedish)

Read more about fees and payment for plant-based food for human consumption on the Swedish National Food Agency’s website (in Swedish)

The Swedish Board of Agriculture is responsible for the plant-health check and quality control of fresh vegetables and fruits. You pay the Swedish Board of Agriculture ‘s fees in connection with your customs declaration and clearance.

Find out the charges for your product in the Customs Tariff on Swedish Customs’ website (in Swedish)

Start-up and register your company

If you do not already have a company, it’s high time to start one now. You can use checklists to help you choose the form of business and structure, to formulate a business plan, and to register your company.

Read more about Starting-up a company under the phase starting

Those who own a company, need to register and make notifications about the company and file reports in several places in order to engage in the importation of food.

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Register with the Swedish Board of Agriculture

Those who import certain types of fruits, vegetables and cereals from outside the EU need to register with the Swedish Board of Agriculture.

Read more and register on the Swedish Board of Agriculture’s website (in Swedish)

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Register with the municipality’s environmental management department

You will need to register with the municipality’s environmental management department.

Contact your municipality offices and find out how it works where you live

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Apply for a EORI number

All EU companies engaged in any type of import or export business must register in the EU Operator Registration and Identification (EORI) Register and have an EORI number in order to do business with non-EU countries.

Read more and apply for an EORI number on Swedish Customs’ website

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Apply for deferred payment facilities

You can choose to pay customs duties and other taxes in arrears, and receive up to 30 days of credit.

Read more and apply for credit via deferred payment facilities on Swedish Customs’ website (in Swedish)

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Register with Swedish Customs

You can send your customs declarations to Swedish Customs electronically via Swedish Customs’ Internet filing “TID.”

Read more about electronic customs declarations and register on Swedish Customs’ website (in Swedish)

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Sign up for Traces

Those who trade with foodstuffs that are going to undergo the Food Safety Agency’s border inspection need to register this in the EU Trace database.

Sign up for the Traces e-service on the Swedish Board of Agriculture’s website (in Sweden)

Goods at the border

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Pre-register your goods

Before your shipment reaches the Swedish border, you need to Pre-register that it is on its way. You do this differently depending on the type of product you are importing.

 Animal-based food for human consumption

Within 24 hours before your shipment reaches the Swedish border, you need to Pre-register that it is on its way, in the Traces e-service. The consignment must be subjected to a border inspection at a border inspection post. Sweden’s border inspection posts may only receive packaged foodstuffs.

Read more about pre-registration and border inspections of animal-based food for human consumption on the National Food Agency’s website (in Swedish)

Plant-based food for human consumption is subject to and encompassed within special protective measures

At least one day before your shipment reaches the Swedish border, you need to Pre-register that it is on its way, in the Traces e-service. Certain plant-based food for human consumption must undergo a border inspection at one of the EU border inspection posts.

Read more about pre-notification and border inspections of plant-based food for human consumption on the National Food Agency’s website (in Swedish)

Fruit, vegetables and cereals subject to quality control or a plant-health check

By 13:00 at the latest before your shipment reaches the Swedish border, you need to Pre-register that it is on the way, in the Swedish Board of Agriculture’s e-service Register Imports.

Register your consignment of fruits, vegetables and cereals on the Swedish Board of Agriculture’s website (in Swedish)

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The importer may be required to pay for an analysis

When there is a requirement for sampling and analysis, it is sometimes the importer who is responsible for that cost.

Declare your goods

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Processing at Customs

Once your product has arrived in Sweden, it is placed in a temporary warehouse and you will be notified by the warehouse that the product has arrived. In order to be able to collect the goods, you will need to submit a customs declaration and pay customs duties and other charges. If your company is VAT registered, you will need to remit the VAT you report in a VAT return to the Swedish Tax Agency. If your company is not registered for VAT, you will pay the VAT to Swedish Customs.

Fees can be paid in cash, by credit/debit card, or after receiving a customs invoice. In order to be able to defer payment and pay via a customs invoice, you will need to have a been granted deferred payment facilities from Swedish Customs.

The customs declaration can be submitted electronically or on a paper form.

Read more about customs declarations and clearances on Swedish Customs’ website (in Swedish)

Read more about customs declarations and clearances electronically filed on Swedish Customs’ website (in Swedish)

You can choose to file the customs declaration yourself or with the assistance of a customs broker. Keep in mind that the customs broker must be registered with Swedish Customs. Also, keep in mind that you always remain responsible for the accuracy of the information in the customs declaration, even if you use a customs broker. Once the customs declaration is approved by Swedish Customs, you have completed the importation of your product. You can now arrange for your product to be picked up and sell it further.

Get ready for the Swedish market

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Mark and label your product

Before you can sell your product on the Swedish market, the product must fulfil certain requirements concerning quality and labelling. You and your company are responsible for inspecting and approving the product. The National Food Agency then conducts random checks in order to ensure compliance with the rules.

Read more about how to mark and label your product on the National Food Agency’s website (in Swedish)

Fishery and aquaculture products such as sea vegetables and algae are subject to special marking and labelling rules

Read more about supplementary labelling of fishery products on the National Food Agency’s website (in Swedish)

Back to top

Affiliate with a return system for bottles and metal cans

Plastic bottles and metal cans, for instance for beer, wine, water and soft drinks, must be included in an approved return system before they may be offered for sale in Sweden. The bottles and cans must be marked with the return system they are encompassed within, along with the amount of the deposit that is refunded when they are returned.

Read more about approved return systems on the Swedish Board of Agriculture’s website (in Swedish)

Would you like to know more?

In addition to what you have already read, there is much more information available:

Swedish Customs’ general information about importing foodstuffs (in Swedish)

The National Food Agency’s tips and recommendations for you, as a food business owner (in Swedish)

Overview of the Swedish Food Act with information on what you need to do to protect consumers (in Swedish)

If any questions remain, we will gladly assist in straightening them out.

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National Food Agency (Livsmedelsverket)

Telephone no.: 018-17 55 00

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Swedish Board of Agriculture (Jordbruksverket)

Telephone no.: 0771-223 223

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Swedish Customs (Tullverket)

Telephone no.: 0771-520 520

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