Importing organic produce

Preparing to import organic produce


Importers of organic products from countries outside the European Union (EU) must work to certain European Community regulations.

Registration in the UK as an organic food importer

If you intend to import a product and sell it as organic, you will have to comply with both organic and general consumer food laws. All organic food must come from growers, processors or importers who are registered and subject to regular inspection.

You can import organic foods into the UK from other EU member states and sell them as organic, as long as they have been produced or processed by a company that is registered with an approved organic control body within the EU.

You must register with an organic control body if you produce, prepare, store, import from a third country or market organic products. There are certain exemptions for those who purely retail (including storage only in connection with the point of sale) and for caterers.

You must present evidence of your registration to the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra) when you apply for an import authorisation. Find out more about applying for organic import authorisation.

Production rules and inspection systems in certain countries outside the EU are deemed equivalent to those in the EU. As long as the products you import are produced in one of these named countries and meet certain conditions, you can import them and sell them as organic without getting approval first.