Import for organic businesses after Brexit
If we leave the EU with a deal, some things will change for UK organic farmers and growers, manufacturers and traders who import from the EU and third countries.
As the UK’s organic experts and largest dedicated food and farming charity, we have compiled some key information on importing for our organic licensees.
Should the new withdrawal bill be passed through parliament and the UK-EU sign the current deal, the UK will leave the EU on the or before the 31st of January 2020 and enter a post-Brexit implementation period. This will end on the 31st December 2020.
During this period, the rules around import of organic will remain unchanged. Organic import requirements after 2020 will be determined by equivalency arrangements agreed during this period.
We are here to support you with any questions you have around importing after a no-deal Brexit and will keep these pages updated as we learn more.
Importing from the EU after Brexit
Once we leave the EU, imports from the EU, EEA and Switzerland will continue as they are until the end of the implementation period on the 31st December 2020.
Importing products from these countries will not require any checks at point of entry, unless there is a specific risk identified with a particular ingredient (see more on importing high risk foods here). There will be no need for Certificates of Inspection (CoIs) or other additional paperwork to be completed on these imports until 2021.
Importing from non-EU countries after Brexit
Arrangements for imports of organic products from third countries2 will also remain unchanged until the end of the implementation period.
The UK will continue to recognise products from all 13 EU approved third countries and from other third countries where certifiers are approved in Annex IV of the EU organic regulation1.
You and the exporter should continue to use the TRACES NT system to generate import documents until the end of the implementation period.
After the implementation period
Organic import arrangement after December 31st 2020 will be determined by further equivalence agreements agreed during the implementation period. Depending on the outcome of those agreements, importers may be required to:
- Switch to an interim paper-based Certificates of Inspection (CoI) for anything arriving into the UK from outside the EU, EEA or Switzerland. The paper CoI can be used
UK ports may still accept EU CoIs for third country imports after the UK’s exit date, however we’d advise you notify ports that these consignments are arriving to avoid delays.
- Request that third country exporters complete this new UK paper based Certificate of Inspection (COI), and will need to be endorsed by the exporters certification body. As with all COI’s this will need to accompany the consignment to the port of entry in the UK. If the COI does not accompany the consignment you must ensure it is at the port of entry when the consignment arrives in the UK ready for the UK Port Health Authority to check and sign the paperwork. Defra recommend that organic businesses start to inform suppliers of this new requirement.
- Ensure that third country imported goods that enter the UK via the EU but do not clear EU customs have a UK CoI endorsed at the first point of entry in the UK.
- Register for an EORI number to move product in and out of the EU. Find more information on EORI numbers here.
- Register for IPAFFS, if your businesses imports animals, animal products and feed from outside the EEA, see the government information on the new UK IPAFFS system
Talk to us
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: email@example.com
- Under European Commission regulation 1235/2008 certifier, country and product category must appear in Annex IV of the organic regulation 834/2007 and the exporter must be registered on TRACES NT
- Country, certifier and product category must appear in Annex III of the organic regulation European Commission Regulation 834/2007.