Defra Update on Importing Organic Goods

Defra update on import and export controls for organic goods to and from the EU, Norway, Iceland, Liechtenstein and Switzerland.

The specific paperwork required for importing to GB remains unchanged and the Certificate of Inspection (COI) must be stamped/signed by the Organic Control Body of the exporter prior to the goods leaving the export country.

However, given there is no GB website based system for producing COI's for importing into GB; only a paper system is available, Defra has agreed it is acceptable for a copy of the original COI to be submitted to the relevant Port Health Authority (PHA) via email prior to the consignment arriving at the port of entry. There is no longer a requirement to follow this up with the original paper copy of the COI in a prescribed time frame.

The latest DEFRA guidance documentation is available in a zipped file: please email for a copy.

The guidance has primarily been updated to reflect that a hard (paper) copy of the COI is no longer required and the pdf will be acceptable.

Defra have also announced an extension to the easements on the requirement for a COI for organic goods imported into GB from the EU, Norway, Iceland, Liechtenstein and Switzerland.  This new extension now means a COI will not be required for organic goods imported into GB from these countries until late 2023 with a date to be confirmed.

If you are importing organic products from outside the EU the requirement for an endorsed GB COI remains. You will need to liaise with your suppliers to ensure that COI's are produced according to Defra’s procedures for importing organic products and sent to the Port Health Authority (PHA)/ Local Authority (LA) in advance.

A business importing organic products to and placing on the market in GB will need to have premises in GB and be registered with a Defra approved UK organic certification body.

There is an additional cost in time to authorise a COI. Regrettably we have to charge a minimum of £15+VAT for every COI processed. Invoices will be issued in arrears.

If you have any questions please contact your certification officer.


PO Box Golspie, KW106AA
Email: Tel: 0300 772 9795

Scottish Organic Producers Association, Registered Office is c/o Drummond Laurie, Algo Business Centre, Glenearn Rd, Perth, PH2 8BX.
Scottish Organic Producers Association is a Co-operative registered under the Co-operative and Community Benefit Societies Act 2014, Registration Number SP02278R. Organic Certification GB-ORG-17