Derogation for use of non-organic agricultural ingredients
If you're having difficulties sourcing an organic ingredient, you may need to apply to Defra for a derogation to use a non-organic version.
Before applying for a Defra derogation, there is important information that you need to be aware of to ensure that your derogation is processed as quickly as possible by Defra:
- It's important you ensure you have tried to source the ingredient as organic from within the EU and not just from within the UK
- Double check your percentage calculations to ensure the total percentage of non-organic agricultural ingredients will not exceed 5%
- Defra are now only accepting applications electronically, not by post
The EU Organic Regulation allows for some derogations to use non-organic agricultural ingredients where they aren’t available on the EU market in organic form, and aren’t already listed in 889/2008 (SA standard 6.6.1). The basic premise for issuing derogation is that the ingredient is not available in organic form in sufficient quantity or quality within the EU. In these cases, you can apply to Defra for a derogation to use the particular ingredient.
Before you submit an application
It's important that you ensure you have tried to source the ingredient as organic from within the EU, and not just from within the UK
When screening applications, Defra make an EU-wide internet search to check the ingredient is not available in the EU. They contact any companies advertising the ingredient to check if it's available. If it is available, they will reject the application. Defra have informed us they're able to find many of the ingredients, often in the Netherlands, France, Italy and Germany.
The implication for operators is that they can wait a long time for a reply from Defra, (weeks/months), only to find that their application is rejected because the ingredient is available in the EU, and the operator had only checked the UK market. So, before making an application, ensure you've checked the EU market, not just UK suppliers, and provide evidence of this with your application.
We can help you with providing a list of any UK operators we license that supply the ingredient, and you can also contact other UK certifiers and suppliers; if that's not fruitful, you'll need to try other EU countries.
When completing your Defra application
Please also ensure you double check your percentage calculations to ensure they are correct, and that the total percentage of non-organic agricultural ingredients will not exceed 5%. Soil Association standard 5.8.4 gives guidance on how to work out the percentage. Please note: some additives are included in the percentage calculations - refer to standard 6.4.2 for details.
Defra are also now only accepting applications electronically, not by post.
You can find the Defra application form on the .Gov website.