It has been confirmed that the European Union will recognise the UK’s organic standards after Brexit, although tariffs etc. will still depend on the outcome of any trade deal. Until now the industry had feared that failure to agree equivalence on standards would lead to a ban on the export of organic food from the UK to the EU.
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.”
CEO of OF&G (Organic Farmers & Growers), Roger Keer, agreed, “This is a short-term gain for the industry and the news will be a relief to the organic sector that’s been living with uncertainty for so long. But it still doesn’t deliver the robust national organic equivalency agreement between the UK and EU we’re calling for. We would anticipate that this would avoid the need for label changes and could mean that the requirement for certificates of inspection can be avoided once there’s an agreement. This would be of significant benefit to operators.”
Photo caption: Andrew Burgess
Photo source: NFU