Guidance

Non-organic ingredients: get permission to use them

Apply to include non-organic ingredients in an organic product you're selling.

You must apply to Defra if you want to include non-organic ingredients in an organic food product.

How to apply

In your application, you must include:

  • written evidence that you’ve searched the EU market for an organic form of the ingredient and couldn’t find one
  • an explanation as to why you need to use the particular ingredient in non-organic form and why you can’t use an organic substitute
  • copies of letters or emails from at least 3 potential suppliers of the ingredient, confirming they can’t supply the ingredient in organic form or find it on the EU market

You can only apply if your:

  • non-organic ingredient is a single ingredient, not made up of 2 or more different items
  • product doesn’t contain any additives or processing aids apart from these EU-approved additive and aids

Apply for non-organic ingredient authorisation

You must use a separate application for each non-organic ingredient you want to use.

You must pay a non-refundable £38 for each application. You’ll get an invoice from Defra.

Non-organic ingredients you can use in organic food without applying for permission

You can use a maximum of 5% of EU-approved non-organic ingredients in an organic food product. For example, for a product containing grain, fruit, oil, sugar and water, plus a permitted processing aid, 2% of non-organic berries might be permitted.

In this example, you must calculate the organic grain, organic fruit, organic sugar and organic oil, and the non-organic berries. The whole should add up to 100%, with the non-organic berries being no more than 5% of that total.

You can’t include water and processing aids or any non-agricultural ingredient such as salt in your calculations. However, you should list these non-agricultural ingredients in your application form.

You must not use organic and non-organic forms of the same ingredient in an organic product.

Published 29 April 2016