Certification and Authorisations
Under EU organic legislation, only products satisfying the requirements of Regulation (EC) No 834/2007 can bear terms referring to the organic production method (e.g. organic, bio, eco, etc.) or the EU organic logo. Under this legislation, the control authorities and bodies of the EU Member States are responsible for issuing documentary evidence (certificates) to the operators necessary for placing such products on the EU market.
What are the requirements for importing organic foods into the EU?
Organic products imported into the EU may be placed on the EU market as organic, where they have been produced in accordance with EU organic production rules and controls. Only products satisfying the requirements of these rules can bear terms referring to the organic production method or the EU organic logo.
Can I import organic food from outside the EU?
Arrangements for the imports of organic products are in place with certain ‘third countries’ where their standards and control measures have been assessed as equivalent to those in place in the EU. They are often referred to as ‘equivalent’ countries and a list is available on the Europa website.
For ‘third countries’ which are not included in the ‘equivalent list’, the EU has a list of control authorities and control bodies who can certify organic food in those ‘third countries’.
Certification of Organic Products
All organic products imported into the EU must have the appropriate electronic certificate of inspection (e-COI). These are administered through the Trade Control and Expert System (TRACES)
- Equivalent countries: Certificates are issued by the Control Bodies designated by the countries national authorities
- All other countries: the Certificates are issued by the Control Bodies designated by the EU
Will UK certification be acceptable under EU Organic legislation?
According to EU rules on organic production and labelling, the control authorities and bodies of the EU Member States are responsible for issuing documentary evidence (certificates) to the operators placing organic products on the EU market.
In a “no-deal Brexit” scenario, products placed on the EU market after the withdrawal date based on certificates issued by control authorities and bodies in the UK will no longer be considered valid.
The import of organic products from the UK will be subject to the rules for ‘third country’ imports. This requires, that the UK is "listed" as an equivalent country, or that a certificate has been issued by an authorised control agency or body control body. The EU list is available on the Europa website.
Can non EU countries use the EU Organic Logo?
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.
Can Natural Mineral Water from the UK be placed on the EU market?
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.
The legislation specifies that waters may only be marketed as natural mineral waters in the EU if they comply with the following:
- where waters are extracted from the ground of a Member State, the responsible authority of that Member State has recognised the waters as natural mineral waters in accordance with Directive 2009/54/EC
- where waters are extracted from the ground of a ‘third country’, the responsible authority of a Member State has recognised the waters as natural mineral waters in accordance with Directive 2009/54/EC.
In a ‘no deal Brexit’ scenario
- Waters recognised by, the UK 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.
Last reviewed: 17/4/2019