Helping your business prepare for Brexit

Brexit has caused much uncertainty for organic farmers and growers, manufacturers and traders. With the UK now in a transitional period and trade negotiations ongoing, there are a number of things you need to know. 

As the UK’s leading food and farming charity we are here to reassure and support our licensees following our departure from the EU.

This Brexit Hub contains lots of free information, checklists for your business and webinars to help you prepare for Brexit.

27th October 2020 Summary

Having left the EU on the 31st January 2020, the UK has been in a transition period and has continued to follow EU rules.

The transition period will end on the 31st December 2020 and with no final confirmation of a Brexit deal or Free Trade Agreement (FTA), some uncertainly remains around organic trading and labelling arrangement after 2020.

The UK will continue to recognise and accept organic food and drink from the EU until 31st December 2021, but EU acceptance of UK organic products after 2020 (equivalence) remains dependent on either a Free Trade Agreement or certifiers EC1235/2008 scope. We anticipate confirmation of this scope in early December.

From January 2021 all organic consignments imported into GB will required a paper-based Certificate of Inspection (CoI). Northern Ireland operators will continue to use the EU TRACES NT system for imports.

UK businesses who import will require importing as an enterprise scope within their organic licence.

Specific requirements regards certification codes, logos and refences to agricultural origin are dependent on final equivalence arrangements with the EU, but there is expected to be a light-touch approach to enforcement of labelling in the GB market until Sept 2022.

Potential changes that may affect your business

The UK will remain in the EU’s customs union and single market for the duration of the transition period and all EU rules and regulations will still apply.

We encourage businesses to read the rest of the information on this page for further details of changes to organic importing, exporting, labelling, certification and documentation from January 2021. we will update this page at regular intervals throughout November and December as we become aware of changes. 

Need to know

Although some specifics reman dependent on equivalency arrangement agreed between now and 31st December 2020, from 2021 there are likely to be :

  • implications for trade of organic products between the UK, the EU and other markets. This applies to seeds, plants, livestock, crops and feed. Textiles and cosmetic products are not affected, unless products are imported as 'food grade'.
  • new requirements for import of organic products into the UK from the EU and third countries
  • new requirements for exporting organic products to the EU and third countries
  • new labelling requirements for labelling in the GB and for organic products exported to the EU and EU approved third countries

Checklist for your business

We've compiled a simple checklist to help you prepare for the end of the Brexit implementation period on the 31st December 2020:

✅  Before exporting to the EU, ensure that either the UK or Soil Association Certification has EC recognition (FTA or EC1235) , overseas importers are certified, labelling complies with EU requirements and register with the TRACES NT portal as an exporter.

✅ If you are importing product into the UK, ensure you have a 'processor' licence with importing scoped and that your exporter is aware of the requirement for GB Certificates of Inspections

✅ Before you export to any non-EU country, ensure that they will accept UK product that labelling complies with any requirements.

Join a Brexit webinar

As the organic experts in the UK we provide a wealth of free information and guidance to our organic licensees.

If you can’t find what you’re looking for on these pages, please get in touch with your Certification Officer or email: brexitsupport@soilassociation.org

Brexit webinars:

Or join one of our Brexit webinars to find out the latest trade news and developments you need to know to prepare for organic trade in 2021. More info and dates can be found on our Trade Events page.

Changes affecting all Farmers and Growers

Importing animal, animal products and high-risk food and feed products not of animal origin 

If you directly import food, feed and high-risk products please make sure you are aware of the new IPFASS system applicable for organic and non-organic products. More information can be found on the Government website here.

Tariffs

At the end of the transition period there could be changes to the tariffs on products being imported into the UK and products being exported from the UK. The Agriculture and Horticulture Development Board (AHDB) has provided useful calculations on the different rates for each product categories that you can view here.

Exports of live animals

Exports of live animals can continue until the end of the transition period, ending 31st December 2020. From the 1st of January 2021 there will be changes to how you export live animals. For more information click here.  

Exports of organic food, feed or drink products:


Please visit our Brexit Hub exporting page for the latest guidance on exports to the EU and Non-EU countries. If you are a producer directly exporting to the EU please email coi@soilassociation.org with details, you may be required to provide yield information before you can export.

Exporting from the UK

Acceptance of UK organic products by the EU and EU approved third countries after the 31st December 2020 will be dependent on equivalency arrangements clarified during the transition period

If equivalency (FTA) is not established by the end of 2020 then equivalence can only be established via the individual approval of UK certifiers under EC1235/2008. Soil Association Certification anticipate our EC1235 approval to be issued in early December 2020.

From the 1st January 2021 all consignments of organic food, feed and drink from the UK entering the EU will need a Certificate of Inspection (CoI) completed on TRACES NT. There will be a charge for this service.

Importing into the UK

Importers of product from non-EU countries should continue to use  the EC TRACESNT portal until December 31st 2020.

From January UK will continue to recognise EU organics for 12 months, but all imports into the GB will required a paper-based GB Certificate of Inspection (CoI). Northern Ireland operators who will continue to use the EU TRACES NT system.

Please inform your non-GB suppliers of new requirement and where you plan to import after 31st of December, check you have the correct license type, certification scope and where required, products individually registered.

Brexit and organic standards

What’s staying the same?

Nothing will change to the Soil Association organic standards post-Brexit and we will continue to maintain our existing high standards. 

All UK certifiers will continue to certify UK organic businesses for UK trade.

What’s changing?

New UK organic food & farming statutory instruments have now been passed into law, ready to become regulation after Brexit. In anticipation of continued access to EU market these will remain closely aligned with existing EC organic regulations.

Labelling requirements after December 31st 2020

Nothing will change until 31st December 2020. During the transition period we will continue to be treated as a Member State and will be required to meet the EU Regulation.As such, all labelling will need to continue to adhere to the EU labelling rules.Once the transition period has ended, unless the UK has clarity on new UK-EU  “equivalency arrangements” (FTA), or individual certifiers have EC1235 status, then:

  • It may not be possible to apply the EU organic logo in the UK.
  • Certification codes i.e GB-ORG-05 for labelling of products may change
  • Different codes could be required for export into the EU.
  • References to the statement of agriculture (EU or non-EU) may also need to change

You can continue to use an EU, GB or NI address for the Food Business Operator (FBO) on pre-packaged food or caseins sold in GB until 30 September 2022.

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