Importing organic food to the UK
Rules for importing organic food, feed and seed to Great Britain (England, Scotland and Wales) and Northern Ireland.
To import organic food to the UK:
- you must be based in the UK
- an approved UK control body must certify your food and business as organic
You must also follow these requirements if you are a ‘first consignee’. This is the first person to receive the imported food.
You may need a certificate of inspection (COI) to import organic food. This applies even if you’re importing a product or sample that is not intended for sale. Your control body can tell you when you need a COI and how to get one.
Importing organic food from the EU, EEA and Switzerland to Great Britain and Northern Ireland
The UK has separate trade agreements with the EU, Norway, Iceland and Liechtenstein (the European Economic Area, EEA), and Switzerland for organic food.
You must check with your approved UK organic control body to find out what you can import into Great Britain and Northern Ireland.
You do not need a COI to import organic food from these countries to Great Britain and Northern Ireland.
Importing organic food from outside the EU, EEA and Switzerland to Great Britain
To import organic food from outside the EU, EEA and Switzerland into Great Britain, you must:
- get a GB COI for each ‘consignment’
- check that your exporter’s control body and country or territory of export are on the non-UK organic registers
A consignment is a batch of products that is shipped and handled as one unit. For example, this could be:
- a container of peas from Kenya
- 200 tonnes of wheat and 150 tonnes of barley from Canada, shipped on the same boat and handled by the same operator
To get your COI and advice on how to import organic food, contact your approved UK organic control body.
Importing organic food from outside the EU, EEA and Switzerland to Northern Ireland
To import organic food from outside the EU, EEA and Switzerland to Northern Ireland, you must:
- check with your control body that the organic food can be imported into Northern Ireland
- register and be approved by your control body on the EU’s Trade Control and Expert System New Technology (TRACES NT)
- get an EU COI for each ‘consignment’ through TRACES NT
Contact your approved UK organic control body if you have any queries.