- Government Agency(s) / Competent Authority
Authorized Government Agency(s):
The United Kingdom left the European Union January 31, 2020, and completed its exit from the EU December 31, 2021.
Agency(s) Contact Information:
1. 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.
A. Business Link
Description: Provides information on preparing to import organic produce 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, 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
FSA in Wales:
FSA in Northern Ireland:
Food Standards Scotland (FSS) is the public sector food body for Scotland:
Contact Food Standards Scotland
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
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 United Kingdom has an Equivalency Arrangement with the United States.
In Great Britain the following regulations apply:
Organic food: labeling and advertising rules
Foods can be labeled as “organic” if at least 95% of the product’s agricultural ingredients are organic and all other ingredients, additives and processing aids are listed as permitted within the organic regulations. Other terms related to organic production methods are synonymous with organic include: bio, eco, organically grown, organically produced, grown or produced using organic principles and grown or produced using organic methods. The labeling rules also apply to company names, or brand names.If the product has less than 95% organic ingredients, organic claims can be used only in the ingredients list and does not allow reference to organic in the product name or description. More.
Date of Implementation of equivalence arrangement: January 1, 2021
Regulation and/or Standard Scope:
The United States (U.S.) has an equivalence arrangement with the United Kingdom (UK), which includes Great Britain (England, Scotland, Wales) and Northern Ireland. This means that organic products certified to either the USDA or UK organic standards may be labelled and sold as organic in both countries, as long as the products meet the terms of the arrangement. The equivalence arrangement is limited to organic products that have been either raised within the U.S. or UK, or products for which the final processing or packaging occurs within the U.S. or UK. This includes products processed or packaged in the U.S. or UK that contain organic ingredients from third countries that have been certified to the USDA or UK organic standards.
Allowed product categories: Crops, Wild Crops, Livestock, Processed Products.
- Imported Products
Starting January 1, 2021: All organic goods imported from non-EU countries must continue to have a valid Certificate of Inspection (COI). There is a new UK import process for all USDA organic products traded under the arrangement. Different documentation is required depending on whether the USDA organic product is exported to the UK-Great Britain (England, Scotland, Wales) or the UK-Northern Ireland.
USDA organic products exported to the UK-Great Britain: A USDA-accredited certifying agent must issue a paper Certificate of Inspection (COI) before the products leave the U.S. and send to the UK Port Health Authority (PHA)/Local Authority (LA), usually by courier. The PHA/LA can endorse a copy if the original hasn’t arrived in order to clear the goods, though the original will need to be endorsed within 10 working days for the consignment to be sold on as organic. To obtain the GB COI, send an email with your request to Organic.Imports@defra.gov.uk. The NOP will link to the GB Certificate of Inspection as soon as it is available.
USDA organic products exported to the UK-Northern Ireland: Pursuant to the Northern Ireland/Ireland Protocol, the EU organic regulations will remain applicable in Northern Ireland. Exports from the U.S. to Northern Ireland will continue to adhere to the EU procedures and will continue to require an EU COI. A USDA-accredited certifying agent must complete an electronic Certificate of Inspection (COI) through the European Union’s Trade Control and Expert System (TRACES) before the product leaves the U.S. Certain edits to the COI may only be made within 10 days of issuing the original COI.
U.S. organic businesses that encounter issues with USDA organic exports arriving in the UK are encouraged to work with their UK importer. You may also email the UK authorities at Organic.Imports@defra.gov.uk
Guidance on importing and exporting organic foods
- Certification and Accreditation
The UK requires organic certification for all those involved in production and handling, including importers.
Control bodies in the United Kingdom
The UK approves certification bodies.
- Additional Information
U.S. International Trade Administration
USDA’s GAIN Report United Kingdom Exporter Guide (2021)
USDA’s GAIN Report United Kingdom Food Processing Ingredients (2022)
USDA’s GAIN Report United Kingdom Food Service Hotel Restaurant Institutional (2022)
USDA’s GAIN Report United Kingdom Retail Foods Report (2022)
USDA’s GAIN Report UK Labeling Requirement Update 2022 (2022)
USDA’s GAIN Report Food and Agricultural Import Regulations and Standards Export Certificate Report (2022)
USDA’s GAIN Report Food and Agricultural Import Regulations and Standards Country Report (2022)