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Port enforcement of origin rules for organic products from EU, EEA, Switzerland and Northern Ireland

Port enforcement of origin rules for organic products from EU, EEA, Switzerland and Northern Ireland

Any organic products imported from EU, EEA, Switzerland, and Northern Ireland into Great Britain needs to be covered under the terms and scope of the UK-EU Trade and Cooperation Agreement (TCA).

To be accepted into GB as organic, products from EU, EEA or NI must have been either grown/reared in the EU, EEA, or NI, or imported and further processed in the EU, EEA, or NI. Products imported from Switzerland must have been either grown/reared in Switzerland or imported and further processed in Switzerland.

With GB Certificates of Inspections (COI) not required for organic imports from EU, EEA and Switzerland until February 2025, not all consignments have been subject to checks on origin. However, we have been made aware of some ports starting to enforce this requirement leading to some consignments being refused entry. Dover port – for example - has issued organic guidance which states: ‘However, the UK-EU Trade and Co-Operation Agreement Annex 14: Organic Products must still be met; any organic product imported into the EU from another third country has to be processed in the EU before it can be exported to GB. It cannot be imported into the EU and then exported to GB without processing (re-packing and relabelling are not considered processed).’  We are aware that some organic imports have been stopped at the port of Dover on this basis.

We recommend considering this new information before arranging the import of products that may be outside the scope of the TCA. We are in discussions with DEFRA and have contacted key UK ports to clarify the situation.