Update on import of organic products
In January, we informed importers of new import restrictions for organic product imported from Ukraine, Kazakhstan, Russian Federation, Moldova and China (see certification update of 10th January). The new controls required additional documentation checks and sampling at the point of entry into the EU. Defra have now informed us that they have been in contact with Port Health Authorities (PHAs) to clarify whether PHAs will allow product affected by the new import restrictions to be moved to the first consignee before the certificate of inspection (COI) has been endorsed.
Unfortunately, there is not a uniform approach being taken by PHAs. Some are allowing movement from ports to the first consignee for sampling and awaiting test results, and will then endorse the COI after satisfactory tests result are provided to the certification body. Others will not endorse COIs for consignments once they have left port - therefore, consignments have to stay at port, and remain under their control and supervision, with the COI endorsement and consignment release taking place once the tests results are known.
As PHAs are, in their own right, self-determining competent authorities, they operate as they consider fit and in the best way for them to perform their statutory duties. Defra have stated they do not have jurisdiction over PHAs in this matter and certification bodies have no influence over PHAs, either.
This means you need to check with the port of entry what their practice will be so that you can plan accordingly.
Please see our guidance document for details of the requirements for products from Ukraine, Kazakhstan, Russian Federation, Moldova or China: