- Government Agency(s) / Competent Authority
Authorized Government Agency(s):
The United Kingdom left the European Union January 31, 2020. European Union (EU) Member States retain the authority to determine additional requirements for production within their country. They can also determine exceptions due to catastrophic circumstances, but cannot restrict access to products in compliance with EU regulations. In addition, the EC delegates most authority for the administration of organic programs to the Member States.
Agency(s) Contact Information:
United Kindom's Department for Environment Food and Rural Affairs (DEFRA)
Organic Team Import Section
Phone: 020 7238 5777 (UK)
Description: Provides the latest news on organic imports. Includes information on products imported from outside the EU as well as inside the EU, a guide on Implementing Regulation 1235/2008, a list of products imported from third countries where the control body has been recognized as applying equivalent standards and products imported from other third countries under a Member State Authorization.
A. Business Link
Description: Provides information on preparing to import organic produce to the EU and to the UK and includes sections on preparing to import organic produce, applying for organic import authorization, certificate of Inspection and other import documents for organic produce, the 2009 change to the organic import regime, other regulatory requirements affecting organic importers, transport and organic imports as well as certificates of conformity and the Procedure for Electronic Application for Certificates (PEACH.)
2. HM Revenues & Customs
Description: information pack created as a basic guide to anyone wishing to import or export goods. It acts as a guide to help anyone get started on importing and / or exporting, and also provides a better understanding of the procedures involved in these activities.
3. Food Standards Agency
Telephone: 20 7276 8829,
A. Imported food
Description: Includes information on what to do before importing, the banned or restricted products, advice about imports, the different legislation for importing food.
4. US Embassy - Office of Agricultural Affairs
Contact: Julie Vasquez-Nicholson
Agriculture Marketing Specialist
Description: This office represents the interests of U.S. agriculture and promote the sale of American food and agricultural, fisheries and forestry products in England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland and provides trade services both for local companies seeking U.S. products and for U.S. companies wishing to develop markets in the UK.
- Organic Regulations and/or Standards
Name(s) of Regulation and/or Standard:
The European Union has an Equivalency Agreement with the United States.
General requirements; repeal of previous organic regulations: EC 834/2007 (.pdf in English)
Detailed rules on production, labeling and control including its first amendment on production rules for organic yeast: EC 889/2008 (.pdf in English); amended by (EU) No 1358/2014 (see below).
Rules concerning imported products: EC1235/2008 (.pdf in English)
Feburary 2013 amendment concerning imported products: (EU) No 125/2013 (.pdf in English)
Rules on organic aquaculture and seaweed production - Amendment in 2009 - implemented in 2010: EC 710/2009 (.pdf in English)
Organic aquaculture and seaweed production updates (EU) No 1358/2014 effective January 1, 2015.
Detailed rules on organic wine: Regulation No 203/2012 (web; in English)
Date of Implementation: 1992
Regulation and/or Standard Scope:
EU standards cover crop, livestock and processing. Farm and handling plans are required, as well as detailed record keeping and detailed livestock feed standards. Specific standards are included for aquaculture, seaweed, yeast, bees, and mushrooms. Criteria for determining allowed materials include consistency with the objectives and principles of organic farming, and materials must be of plant, animal, microbial or mineral origin. Synthetic substances, however, may be used when they replicate the natural sources and when they are approved for organic production in the EU.
- Imported Products
EU requires that imported organic products meet EU standards. Non-EU organic products must include country of origin labeling if they wish to use the EU organic logo. Use of the EU organic logo is not required for products from outside the EU.
- Certification and Accreditation
The EC requires organic certification for all those involved in production and handling, including importers. EC requires ALL processing operations to be certified, even if those products are below the 95% threshold for the "Organic" label.
EC delegates the authority for investigations, non compliance, mediation, and testing, as well as reporting, exclusion from organic sale, emergency treatments and appeals to the Member States in accordance with their respective control system plans.
The EC allows private sector standards for the product categories, such as cosmetics and textiles, which are not fully regulated by the EC. In the EU certifiers (control bodies) can require additional organic crop, livestock and processing standards in association with the use of their certification seal.
List of control authorities and control bodies for equivalence
Control bodies in the European Union
Each EU Member State accredits certification bodies.
Additionally, the EU vests the authority for exchanging information on "infringements and irregularities" (enforcement) to certifiers through the Member State control systems as the vehicle to remove non-compliant product from the marketplace. However, it is not clear how, or when, an organic certificate can or will be revoked.
In addition to the EC organic regulations for certification and accreditation procedures, the requirements of EN 45011 and ISO Guide 65 for accreditation must be met.
- Additional Information
USDA’s GAIN Report United Kingdom Exporter Guide (2020)
USDA’s GAIN Report United Kingdom Food Processing Ingredients (2019)
USDA’s GAIN Report United Kingdom Food Service Hotel Restaurant Institutional (2019)
USDA’s GAIN Report United Kingdom Retail Foods Report (2019)
USDA’s GAIN Report UK Supermarket Chain Profiles (2016)
USDA’s GAIN Report Key Retail Outlets 2016 (2016)
USDA’s GAIN Report United Kingdom Food and Agricultural Import Regulations and Standards - Narrative (2016)
USDA’s GAIN Report Food and Agricultural Import Regulations and Standards Export Certificate Report (2020)
USDA’s GAIN Report Food and Agricultural Import Regulations and Standards Country Report (2020)
USDA’S GAIN Report New EU Organic Regulations for Early 2018 (2017)
USDA’S GAIN Report Electronic Certificate of Inspection Required for EU Organics Trade (2017)
USDA’S GAIN Report U.S. Organic Food Exporters Set to Double Sales to EU (2019)
USDA’s GAIN Report Plenty of opportunities for U.S. organics in the EU market (2015)
USDA’s GAIN Report EU-28 Food and Agricultural Import Regulations and Standards - Certification (2016)
USDA’S GAIN Report EU-28 Food and Agricultural Import Regulations and Standards - Narrative (2017)
USDA’s GAIN Report EU-28 EU-U.S. Organic Trade Update - January 2014