A Quick Guide to Importing and Exporting Organic Food in the UK

Understanding Imported Organic Products

Imported organic products must meet either of the following criteria:

  • Unprocessed agricultural or aquaculture products produced in the European Union
  • Processed agricultural products for use as food or feed that have been processed in the EU with ingredients grown in the Union
  • Processed agricultural products for use as food or feed that have been processed in the EU with ingredients imported into the Union in compliance with Union laws and regulations.

Importing organic food from the EU to the UK

Organic products imported into the UK from the EU, Norway, Iceland, Liechtenstein, and Switzerland will require a Certificate of Inspection (CoI) from July 1, 2022. You’ll use the manual GB organic import system in the meanwhile.

Before the import arrives in the UK, you must get a CoI from the regulatory organisation that certified the exporter. You must use their pre-notification system to notify your port health authority (PHA) about your import.

The CoI must be presented to the PHA at the port where the product is being imported. The PHA checks the CoI, and if it is valid, the produce is sent to customs for clearance before you can pick it up.

To promote your imported products as organic, you’ll need an authorised CoI. If the CoI is valid, the PHA checks it and stamps it. This service must be paid for. After that, the produce must go through customs clearance before you can pick it up.

Importing organic food from non-EU countries to the UK

A valid GB CoI is required for any organic items imported from non-EU countries. To import organic food and feed into the United Kingdom, you’ll need to employ an interim manual GB organic import procedure.

Contact your organic control authority to obtain the forms for the manual UK organic import scheme. Control bodies and authorities can apply for recognition in countries other than the United Kingdom to export to the United Kingdom.

Exporting organic food from the UK to the EU

Using the EU’s Trade Control and Expert System New Technology (TRACES NT), all organic items exported to the EU must have a valid CoI.

Contact your control authority to have your business approved for exports on TRACES NT.

Exporting organic food from the UK to non-EU countries

For each consignment, some non-EU nations may demand an export certificate. It would be best to double-check with the country to which you are exporting.

Some organic food and feed certified in the United Kingdom are also recognised as organic in the following countries: Australia, Canada, Japan, New Zealand, the Republic of Korea, Switzerland and the United States of America.

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