Guidance

Organic food: labelling and advertising rules

Rules on labelling food products as organic or using organic production terms if you produce, prepare, store, import or sell organic products.

When you can label your product as ‘organic’

You can only label foods as ‘organic’, or use terms relating to organic production methods, if:

Other terms relating to organic methods include:

  • ‘bio’
  • ‘eco’
  • ‘organically grown’
  • ‘organically produced’
  • ‘grown or produced using organic principles’
  • ‘grown or produced using organic methods’

The rules also apply to company names, or brand names. For example, you could not use the name ‘Smith’s Organic’ for a non-organic product or business.

If your product has less than 95% of organic ingredients

If your product contains less than 95% organic agricultural ingredients and you wish to make organic claims on the product labelling, or in the marketing, you must obtain certification for your product from an organic control body.

You can only use ‘organic’ in the ingredients list on the label or accompanying documentation. You cannot include ‘organic’ in the product name or description. For example, the ingredients panel of your label may include ‘organic sugar’ in a list of other ingredients.

You are breaking the law if you call a food product ‘organic’ if it has not been inspected and certified.

Register with a UK organic control body

To label your product as organic, you must register with one of the UK organic control bodies in order to be certified. You can decide which control body to register with based on your location and business needs.

If you use a third party to carry out your labelling, then they will also be subject to these labelling requirements.

If you do not comply with the labelling requirements, your control body could stop you labelling your products as organic.

What you need to include on your labelling

You must include:

  • your control body code number
  • a statement of agricultural origin

Control body code

Your food label must include your control body’s code number. For produce originating in the UK, the code number format is ‘GB-ORG-XX’.

Operators exporting to third countries (EU and non-EU) must also include the ‘GB-ORG-XX’ code. The code shows the products are certified to the Great Britain domestic regulations.

Non-UK organic produce usually has a different 3-letter code. The code is normally ‘BIO’.

Find the codes you need in the list of control bodies and control authorities.

Statement of agricultural origin

You must include one of the following statements on all organic pre-packed products produced in Great Britain:

  • ‘UK Agriculture’ – where the agricultural ingredients are produced in the UK
  • ‘UK or non-UK Agriculture’ – where the product is produced using a mixture of agricultural ingredients grown in the UK and outside the UK
  • ‘Non-UK Agriculture’ – where the agricultural ingredients are produced outside the UK

An operator can use more specific references if 98% of a product’s agricultural ingredients are grown in a specific area. For example, milk from Northern Ireland can be labelled as ‘Northern Irish Agriculture’, or Welsh lamb can be labelled as ‘Welsh Agriculture’.

You must make these labelling changes to products for the UK market by 31 December 2023. When printing new labels, you should comply with the new labelling requirements. You must not remove or deliberately omit mandatory information.

Including the EU organic logo on Great Britain domestic regulations organic food or feed is optional. If used, the organic product must meet the EU organic labelling requirements and include an EU statement of agricultural origin (‘EU’ or ‘Non-EU Agriculture’).

If you use the EU organic logo for Great Britain domestic regulations exports to the EU, you must include an EU statement of agricultural origin (‘EU’ or ‘Non-EU Agriculture’). You must also include a UK statement of agriculture.

Download the EU logo

Organic regulations

In Great Britain the following regulations apply:

Published 29 April 2016
Last updated 20 September 2022 + show all updates
  1. Updated the statement of agricultural origin labelling guidance. Great Britain labelling changes have been delayed from 30 September 2022 until 31 December 2023.

  2. Added links to the organic regulations and other terms relating to organic methods.

  3. The page has been updated to clarify the what labels must state, and what the control body code numbers are.

  4. First published.