The European Commission has announced that the UK’s six organic certification bodies will be recognised for 12-months following the end of the Brexit transition period.
Concern had been growing amongst farmers that without EU recognition, organic products from the UK would not have had access to EU markets immediately after the transition period.
UK organic products would not have been able to be sold as organic in the EU, or in Northern Ireland, due to its status as part of the EU’s regulatory regime.
This caused more than 30 organisations representing the UK’s organic food sector to write to the Government in September to highlight the potential implications.
“We hope that an agreement is reached which mutually recognises the UK and EU as having equivalent organic standards to provide more long-term certainty for the organics sector.”
The National Farmers Union (NFU) has welcomed the decision, claiming that recognition by the EU of the UK’s organic sector will ensure continued access to vital EU and Northern Irish markets and bring certainty to producers.
NFU organic forum chair, Andrew Burgess, said: “Exports to the EU have and always will be an important part of the UK organic supply chain and to be able to continue to export to that key market from January is a huge relief.
“While not the full mutual equivalency we have been pressing for, this decision should offer short-term certainty for those organic businesses who’ve been concerned over losing access to this valuable market.
“UK organic mutual equivalence with the EU is something the UK government has been seeking to be included as a technical annex within the draft Free Trade Agreement text currently being negotiated. We hope that an agreement is reached which mutually recognises the UK and EU as having equivalent organic standards to provide more long-term certainty for the organics sector.”