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Brexit - Q and A

Mineral Water

Can natural mineral water from the UK be placed on the EU market?

Yes, but they must be recognised. Directive 2009/54/EC defines natural mineral waters and sets out the terms on which natural mineral waters are recognised. Natural mineral waters are subject to an authorisation procedure carried out by the competent authorities of the EU countries or by European Economic Area (EEA) countries.

Waters recognised by the UK (excluding Northern Ireland) as natural mineral waters will under EU legislation be considered as extracted from the ground of a ‘third country’ and can only be imported into the EU if they are ‘recognised’ as such by the responsible authority of another Member State. The EU Commission has a list of natural mineral waters recognised by Member States available on its website.

Can I import Spring Water from the UK?  

Yes, once it complies with Directive 2009/54/EC and is not subject to the requirement for recognition that applies to natural mineral water. Spring water can be imported from the UK once it complies with the requirements of Directive 2009/54/EC as well as other applicable food law (e.g., food hygiene, labelling legislation, general food law). In terms of Directive 2009/54/EC on the exploitation and marketing of natural mineral waters, it specifies that:

The term ‘spring water’ shall be reserved for a water which is intended for human consumption in its natural state, and bottled at source, which:

(a) satisfies the conditions of exploitation laid down in Annex II, points 2 and 3, which are fully applicable to spring waters
(b) satisfies the microbiological requirements laid down in Article 5
(c) satisfies the labelling requirements of Article 7(2), points (b) and (c), and Article 8
(d) has not undergone any treatment other than those referred to in Article 4 (i.e., other treatments may be authorised by the EU Commission).

In addition, spring waters must comply with the provisions of Directive (EU) 2020/2184 on the quality of water intended for human consumption (recast).

Since 1 January 2021, any national permitted treatments for spring water in the UK (excluding Northern Ireland) (e.g., UV treatment) will not be permitted for spring water from the UK placed on the EU market.

Organic Food

Under EU organic legislation, only food that meet the requirements of Regulation (EC) No 834/2007 can bear terms referring to the organic production method (e.g., organic, bio, eco, etc.) or use the EU organic logo.

Will UK certification be acceptable under EU organic legislation?

The EU has a list of control authorities and control bodies who are independent bodies appointed by the EU to ensure that organic producers in their area of responsibility follow standards and control measures equivalent to the EU ones.

The following bodies are recognised by the EU in accordance with Article 33(3) of Regulation (EC) No 834/2007 as control bodies competent to carry out controls and issue certificates in the United Kingdom:

  • Biodynamic Association
  • Organic Farmers & Growers C. I. C.
  • Organic Farmers & Growers (Scotland) Ltd
  • Organic Food Federation
  • Quality Welsh Food Certification Ltd
  • Soil Association Certification Limited

Can non-EU countries use the EU Organic Logo when placing organic food on the EU market?

Yes. The EU organic logo can be used on products that satisfy the requirements of EU legislation on organic production and have been certified as organic by an authorised control agency or body. The logo is:

  • mandatory for all pre-packaged EU food products, produced and sold as organic within the EU
  • optional for imported products where the product conforms to the EU rules on the import of organic goods

Where the EU organic logo is used, an indication of the place where the agricultural raw materials of which the product is composed have been farmed must also appear in the same visual field as the logo and must take one of the following forms, as appropriate:

  • ‘EU Agriculture’, where the agricultural raw material has been farmed in the EU
  • ‘non-EU Agriculture’, where the agricultural raw material has been farmed in ‘third countries’
  • ‘EU/non-EU Agriculture’, where part of the agricultural raw materials has been farmed in the EU and a part of it has been farmed in a ‘third country’.

The above-mentioned indication ‘EU’ or ‘non-EU’ may be replaced or supplemented by a country in the case where all agricultural raw materials of which the product is composed have been farmed in that country.

See further information on the import requirements for organic food.

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