Importing Organic Products into Great Britain from 1st January 2021

If you import organic food and feed into Great Britain you will have to follow GB rules from 1st January 2021. These rules will apply to imports of organic food and feed from all Third Countries with the exception of EU Member States, EEA countries and Switzerland.

Certificate of Inspection (CoI)

Imports of organic food and feed will need to be accompanied by the new GB Certificate of Inspection (CoI). This is a paper-based system at the moment because GB will lose access to TRACES-NT from 1st January 2021.

The blank model of the new certificate can be found here.

Defra notes on completing the GB CoI can be found here.

Transition period

Consignments leaving Third Countries before 1st January 2021 will be accepted provided that they are accompanied by the original fully endorsed EU CoI that was created on TRACES-NT.

For consignments that leave third countries before 1st January 2021 but arrive in GB after 31st December Port Health will require the original signed and stamped EU CoI that was created on TRACES-NT. The reason we need the original is that GB will not have access to TRACES-NT from 11pm on 31st December 2020 so we will not be in a position to check the CoI online.

Consignments leaving third countries on or after 1st January 2021 must be accompanied by the new paper GB CoI as detailed above.

Pre-notification – documents required

Importers must notify Port Health 24 hours in advance of the intended arrival of any organic consignment.

Imports of an organic consignment can be pre-notified using a new system called PHILIS DES  (via  – If you are already using PHILISonline then you can logon to DES using your existing PHILISOnline logon details – no need to re-register).   Alternatively, you can also use a pre-notification form that can be downloaded here. When submitting a pre-notification either use the facility within PHILIS DES to upload the bill of lading, packing list and invoice or submit copies of these commercial documents with the hard copy form.

Please ensure the pre-notification form informs us as to which company is responsible for the charges, and which company the signed CoI should be returned to.   Without this information we cannot process the documentation and your consignment will be delayed.

The fee for PHILIS DES pre -notification / processing / CoI check is £45. All other pre-notifications / processing / CoI checks are charged at £60 due to additional administration required by Port Health.

Initially checks will be carried out on copy documents, however the original GB CoI must be submitted within 10 working days of the consignment arriving. Port Health will need to endorse the original GB CoI and return this document as the official record of your consignment being organic.

PHILIS DES will be available for use from 29-12-2020

EU countries, EEA countries, Switzerland

DEFRA advice (7th Dec 2020) is that a phased approach to endorsing EU organic imports will be implemented throughout 2021 with full organic checks in force by 1st July 2021.

Wording of DEFRA advice: DEFRA is pleased to confirm that a GB Certificate of Inspection (COI) will not be required on certified organic produce entering GB from the EU and certain other countries from 1 January 2021. These will be required later in 2021. Please see the detail below:

  • All imports from third countries, except from the EU, EEA and Switzerland, must be accompanied by a GB Certificate of Inspection (CoI) from 1 January 2021.
  • We are implementing this phased approach to endorsing EU COIs to reduce unnecessary barriers to trade.
  • By 1 July 2021, all EU organic exporters must be certified by a control body and the control body must issue the COI for export to GB. This is a significant change and we decided to waive this requirement to reduce the risk of delays at the ports and resultant spoiled food. This decision is in line with a number of other phased approaches designed to simplify import procedures in the short term.


DEFRA has produced the following guidance documents: