Import for organic businesses after Brexit
Importing into the UK during the transition period
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.
The current transition period will end on the 31st December 2020. During this transition period, the rules around import of organic will remain unchanged. You and the exporter should continue to use the EU TRACES NT system to generate import documents from non- EU counties until the end of the transition period.
Importing into the UK after 31st December 2020
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. To ensure a smooth transition process, UK will recognise the EU as equivalent for the purpose of trade in organics until 31 December 2021.
Agreements between 13 EU approved third countries and the UK are currently being negotiated by the UK government, to ensure we can continue to accept product after 2021. We are in regular contact with DEFRA to get confirmation as soon as possible.
Changes to your licence scope or type
If you are a wholesaler importing organic food, feed or drink products into the UK and plan to do so after 31st December 2020, you may be required to hold an organic processor licence. Please note this process can take up to 12 weeks.
If you already hold a processor licence, you should contact your to ensure your current licence scope covers importing. Whether changing your licemce or extending scope, if you are not currently certified to import, from January 2021 you'll need to have completed a Description of Importing form.
Please contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org for further details of how to change or extend scope your existing licence or how to start the application process.
Description of Importing Document post transition period
Please complete the form if you plan on importing food, feed or drink products from 1st January 2021Download the Document
Certificates of Inspection
From January 1st 2021 to import organic products into the UK you will be required to use an interim paper-based GB certificate of Inspection (CoI). Please note this does 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.
For each consignment you import, a CoI will need to be completed by the exporter, endorsed by their certifier and travel with the consignment ready to be checked by Port Health or at a Border Control Post. The new GB CoI and explanatory notes can both be downloaded here:
If you are importing organic products of animal origin or livestock from the EU please ensure you have registered for the new UK IPAFFS system here.
GB CoI Blank Document Template
Blank GB CoI document for imports into the UK from third countriesDownload it here
GB CoI Explanatory notes
Guidance on how to complete the GB CoIRead it here
Extract GB CoI Blank Document Template
This form is to be used for operators wishing to split consignments into batchesLearn More Here
Extract of GB CoI notes
Guidance on how to complete the blank extract templateLearn More
Before you import please ensure the following:
- You hold a valid organic food and drink licence
- Your exporter is aware of the new requirement for GB CoI’s
- The GB CoI is completed and sent for approval to the Third Country Certifiers
- If you are the importer you have notified the Port Health Authority (PHA) /Border Control Post (BCP) ahead of the organic shipment arriving (at least 24hours in advance)
- The GB paper CoI travels with the goods to ensure it arrives with the shipment ready for the PHA/BCP to sign, approved and then release the goods.
It is important to ensure that you are aware of the new requirements which come into effect from January 1st 2020. If you import organic products without an approved GB CoI this could result in your goods loosing organic status.
Consignments leaving third countries before December 2020 but due to arrive after January 2021 will be accepted if they have an EU endorsed CoI on TRACES NT. Importers should notify ports that these consignments are arriving to avoid delays.
DEFRA Step-by-step guidance on importing organic and importing FAQ's can be downloaded here:
DEFRA Step-by-step guidance on importing organicRead them here
Great Britain CoI FAQsRead them here
For more information on food importing and exporting after Brexit visit the .gov webpages
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 by email: email@example.com
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.
- 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.