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Soil Association Certification removal from EC1235/2008 Annex IV and closure of GB-BIO-142 scheme

Soil Association Certification removal from EC1235/2008 Annex IV and closure of GB-BIO-142 scheme

EC Member States have voted to amend the list of third country control bodies recognised to certify products for export to the EU. This amended list will apply from 1st January 2022.

We have received confirmation on the outcome of the vote and implementation of a new regulation from the 1st January 2022 will no longer list UK organic certifiers.

Find out more about: 

  1. What this means for organic exporters
  2. CoIs and CoI validity
  3. Moving organic products to Northern Ireland under the STAMNI scheme
  4. Other certification schemes and endorsement
  5. Imports of products not in scope of TCA
  6. Options for businesses affected by this change

What this means for organic exporters

This renewed EU regulation suggests that only product within the terms of the TCA will be accepted for import from GB from 1st Jan 2022. Unless we are made aware of any alternative arrangements to enable trade in out-of-scope organic products, product not grown or processed in the UK will not be able to enter the EU, Northern Ireland and EEA (excluding Switzerland) after 31st December 2021.

COIs and COI validity

As the result of the implementation of this regulation, we expect to lose our ability to endorse COIs under our GB-BIO-142 scheme within TRACES NT. We are attempting to ascertain when functionality will cease but believe this should remain in place whilst the original regulation remains valid until 31st December 2021.

Any COI endorsement needed for goods certified under GB-BIO-142 must be gained prior to export of goods. In the meantime, any COI that you have already had endorsed prior to Soil Association Certification being removed from the regulation will remain valid.

We do not yet know if consignments with a GB-BIO-142 COI will be required to clear EU customs before 1st January 2022.

Please contact the COI team if you have pre-purchased COI's and require a refund or would like to check your existing credit balance. Please note due to the high number of queries regarding this, we will process the refunds no later 31st January 2022. Please email

Moving organic products to Northern Ireland under the STAMNI scheme

We understand our removal from the EU list will also impact some products imported under the STAMNI scheme.

Defra have informed us of the following:

There are several rules that apply to goods being moved from GB to NI by authorised traders under the Scheme for Temporary Agri-food Movements to Northern Ireland (STAMNI). The STAMNI rules note that EU requirements must be met. This means that whilst the STAMNI rules allow for organic products to be moved from GB to NI without the normally required EU Certificate of Inspection (CoI), the organic products must comply with the EU’s organic regulations.

Any organic products being moved from GB to NI under a UK Control Bodies Annex IV recognition within Regulation (EC) 1235/2008 will not be possible once UK Control Bodies are removed from the EU’s list of recognised third country control bodies, effective from 1 January 2022.

Other certification schemes and endorsement can continue

Once GB-BIO-142 functionality ceases on TRACES NT, we will automatically move to close the GB-BIO-142 certification scheme. The Client Services team will send an email communication to all licence holders to confirm that the GB-BIO-142 licence has been terminated. All products certified under our other organic schemes e.g.SA Organic or UK Organic (GB-ORG -05) will remain certified.

You can still continue to submit your COI's via TRACES for products in scope of the TCA using the GB-ORG-05 code. For any queries about what product can be included within the scope of the TCA please email and we would be more than happy to discuss this with you in more detail.

Imports of products not in scope of TCA

Despite the UK not requiring GB COIs for organic food and drink consignments entering GB from EU and EEA countries until July 1st 2022, we are now becoming aware of ports refusing entry for product not processed or grown in the EU. We recommend checking with UK ports before attempting to import organic goods that may be out-of-scope of the TCA.

Options for businesses affected by this change

As identified in our recent EC1235 webinar we are aware that in anticipation of the ending of BIO-142, some businesses have made arrangement to have the importer of record for product from non- EU third countries based in the EU or NI. Others have amended transit routes to direct product from non-EU countries directly into EU/EAA ports avoiding GB, or tranship products through GB without clearing UK customs.

As per our EC1235 Webinar, exploring option for a legal challenge to the proposed regulatory amends, businesses who have trade or property rights adversely affected by this decision may wish to revisit these options should they wish to challenge the EU’s decision to remove UK certified operators’ ability to trade under EC1235/2008. For details of how access to this previous webinar, please contact