News article

Brexit: Trading and labelling organic food

4 February 2020

Understand the rules that will apply to you when producing, processing, labelling and trading organic food after 1 January 2021

The UK will have its own laws for the production, processing, labelling and trading of organic food and feed.

Organic standards will stay the same and organic regulations will remain similar to the EU’s.

Food and feed registered as organic in the EU will continue to be accepted as organic in the UK at the UK’s discretion.

The EU will decide whether to continue accepting food and feed registered in the UK as organic.

Certificates and labels
If you grow, process, or import organic food for trade within the UK, you will still need to be certified by an approved UK organic control body.

If you produce, process, sell, or import organic food, you can continue to label it with details of your organic control body.

Displaying logos
You must not use the EU organic logo on any UK organic food or feed after the UK leaves the EU unless equivalency is agreed.

You can continue to use your UK organic control body logo. Read the guidance on importing organic food or feed to find out the restrictions on organic produce imports.

Read more guidance on food labelling changes from 1 January 2021.

Importing organic food
You will no longer use the EU’s Trade Control and Expert System New Technology (TRACES NT) when importing organic food and feed.

You will use a manual UK organic import system until a new digital system is in place after a no-deal Brexit.

All imports from non-EU countries (known as third countries) must have a certificate of inspection (CoI).

Imports from the EU, EEA States and Switzerland do not need CoIs from 1 January 2021.

Exporting organic food to the EU
You will not be able to export organic food or feed to the EU, unless either:

  • your UK control body is authorised by the EU to certify UK goods for export to the EU
  • the UK and the EU agree to recognise each other’s standards (called equivalency)

Contact your control body to stay up to date.

Exporting organic food to non-EU (third) countries
Some non-EU countries may require an export certificate for each consignment. You should check with the country you’re exporting to.

Trading rules should stay the same for countries that accept UK goods without an equivalency arrangement (an agreement to accept each other’s standards).

The EU has equivalency arrangements with some non-EU countries and the UK is negotiating trade agreements to continue trading with these countries after 1 January 2021. The Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra) will contact importers and food manufactures if any trade agreements change.

Different exporting rules may apply if equivalency is not agreed between the UK and non-EU countries from 1 January 2021. Contact the exporting control body in the country you’re importing food from. Defra will publish any changes in this guide.