Guidance

Organic products: import them into the UK

Find out how to import organic products import into the UK.

Register as an importer

You must register with an organic control body if you want to produce, prepare, store or market organic produce from outside the EU.

You can decide which body to register with based on your needs.

You don’t need to register with an organic control body if you import organic food from the EU, European Economic Area (EEA) or Switzerland. However, the food you import must be produced or processed by an operator registered with an EU organic control body.

Import organic products from ‘equivalent’ countries

You can import certain organic produce from ‘equivalent’ non-EU countries because their standards are equivalent to the EU’s. Find out the equivalent countries, the control bodies that can operate there and the products you can import (PDF, 463KB, 18 pages) .

Speak to your control body for further information.

Import organic products from ‘non-equivalent’ countries

You must use exporters in non-equivalent countries who are certified by control bodies recognised as having equivalent standards as the EU. You can only import certain products from these countries. Find out the equivalent control bodies, the countries in which they can operate and the allowed products (PDF, 1.37MB, 53 pages) as set out by EU regulations.

Speak to your control body for further information.

Certificate of Inspection (CoI) for organic produce

You must get a CoI for your import from the control body that certified the exporter before it arrives in the UK.

You must tell your port health authority (PHA) about your import using their pre-notification system.

You must show the CoI to the PHA at the port the produce is imported to. The PHA checks the CoI and if it’s valid the produce then goes to customs for clearance before you can collect it.

Cost

The PHA checks the CoI and stamps it if it’s valid. You must pay for this service.

The PHA checks the CoI and endorses it if its valid. The produce then goes to customs clearance before you can collect it.

You must have an endorsed CoI to sell your imported products as organic.

Certificate of Inspection problems

The PHA inspects the CoI on arrival. If the inspector rejects the CoI your products can’t be sold as organic. Your produce will remain under customs control until one of the following happens:

  • all labels saying the produce is organic are removed
  • the CoI is corrected
  • the produce is re-exported

Other food import rules

You must follow the Food Standard Agency’s imported food safety regulations at all stages when importing food.

If you’re importing live animals or products of animal origin you may need a veterinary certificate.

Published 8 March 2016