DEFRA announces changes to organic food and feed import requirements

DEFRA has announced changes to the Certificate of Inspection (COI) template for organic food and feed imports into Great Britain, as well as a delay to the requirement for COIs from the EU, EEA and Switzerland.


Certificate of Inspection (COI) template changes

The COI template – specifically box two – and its explanatory notes have been amended to remove redundant requirements.

The new template should be issued from 1 September 2023 for organic imports into GB. Consignments which have left their country of export before this date will still be accepted using the previous GB COI template.

The two options in box two of the new template are:

  • Article 33(2) – confirms products are imported under Annex III of retained Regulation (EC) No 834/2007
  • Article 33(3) – confirms products are certified as equivalent to GB Regulations in the third country and certified by a control body listed in Annex IV of retained Regulation (EC) No 834/2007

The option that should be ticked depends on whether the import in question is from a third country listed in Annex III or certified by a control body appearing on Annex IV, which are approved to operate in the third country the product(s) originate from.

A list of organisations, countries and territories outside the UK – otherwise known as third countries – that can certify organic food, feed and seeds for import into GB can be found on GOV.UK: www.gov.uk/government/publications/organic-registers-lists-of-third-countries-or-territories-control-bodies-and-control-authorities


Delay to Certificate of Inspection requirement for organic products from the EU, EEA and Switzerland

A requirement for COIs to accompany organic products from the EU, EEA and Switzerland has been delayed until 1 February 2025, allowing more time to explore potential improvements to the existing processes.

The Trade and Cooperation Agreement (TCA) stipulates products must be produced or processed in the EU to be accepted in GB, and vice versa. Although a requirement for COIs has not yet been implemented for organic products imported from the EU, products must still adhere to the rules of the TCA, which has been included in guidance since Britain left the EU.

Any questions or queries about these changes can be emailed to Organic.Imports@defra.gov.uk

Further information on importing organic food and feed through the ports of Felixstowe, Harwich and Ipswich can be found on the SCPHA website at www.porthealth.uk/import-guidance/organics/