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 after 31st December 2020, but EU acceptance of UK organic products after 2020 is dependent on either a Free Trade Agreement or certifiers EC1235/2008 scope to certify to European Commission (EC) regulations. We anticipate confirmation of this scope by the end of October.

From January 2021 importing organic products into all parts of the UK other than Northern Ireland, will required a paper-based Certificate of Inspection (CoI). Northern Ireland operators will continue to use the EU TRACES NT system.

UK businesses importing from the EC will require organic certification with scope to import. This also applies to customers in the EU who receive goods from the UK

Specific requirements regards certification codes, logos and refences to agricultural origin are dependent on confirmation of either an FTA or our EC1235 scope extension, which are yet to be confirmed by the EC or UK Gov.

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

Depending on equivalency arrangement agreed between now and 31st December 2020, from 2021 there may 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 documentation and requirements for exporting organic products to the EU and third countries
  • new labelling requirements for exporting organic 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) , importers are certified, labelling complies with new requirements and register with the TRACES NT portal as an exporter.

✅ If you are importing product into the UK from the EU, check with your certifier to ensure you have the required licence type and scope to import. You are not able to import with a Wholesaler licence. 

✅ If you are importing into the UK, please ensure that your exporter is aware of the requirement for any new documentation.

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

✅ Please be advised that importing and exporting may require additional paperwork and there could be a charge for this service.


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:

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

The Government have issued guidance to help all farmers and growers prepare for Brexit. This includes information on a range of issues including farm and rural payments, importing and exporting and seasonal workers. For a comprehensive list of changes please visit the Government’s website.


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 calculation on the different rates for each product categories that you can view here

Exports of live animals and animal products

At the end of the implementation period there could be changes to rules for exports of live animals and products of animal origin, such as meat, fish and dairy. Exports can continue until at least the end of 2020 as the UK listed status has been confirmed by the EU member states. For more information click here.

The Country Land and Business Association (CLA) have also published a helpful no-deal advice pack.


If your businesses imports animals, animal products and feed from outside the EEA, you will be required to register for IPAFFS  (see the government information on the new UK IPAFFS system)

Exporting from the UK

Until 31st December 2020 organic food, feed and drink from the UK will continue to be accepted by the EU, EEC nations and EU approved third countries.

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 the transition period then the individual approval of UK certifiers by the EU presents an alternative solution. Soil Association Certification are working to ensure we have scope under EC1235/2008 to certify UK operators to the EU organic regulation and this is anticipated to be issued by the end of October 2020.

In the absence of a FTA that negates this requirement, all organic food, feed and drink shipments from the UK entering the EU will need a Certificate of Inspection (CoI) on TRACES NT from the 1st January 2021. There will be a charge for this service and we will update this page once our online CoI service is available. 

Importing into the UK

After December 31st 2020 the UK will continue to recognise EU organics until 31 December 2021.  

Importers importing from non-EU countries importers should continue to create certificates of inspection via the EC TRACESNT portal until December 31st 2020.

Unless a subsequent FTA suggest otherwise for EU imports, all importing of organic product into the UK after December 31st 2020 will required an interim paper-based GB Certificate of Inspection (CoI) for each consignment. Please note will not apply to Northern Ireland operators who will continue to use the EU TRACES NT system.

DEFRA is informing Third Countries Certifiers of this new requirement. However please inform your customers there will be a new requirement for imports into GB.

After 31st of December 2020 importers should check that they have the correct certification scope to include 'importing' Where they have a Wholesaler licence only, they must apply for an organic processor licence.

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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