The international organic food market is worth a whopping £100bn. The UK is the sectors ninth biggest player –organic products are worth £2.5bn to the economy. People choose organic foods for many reasons, such as the environment, but the predominant motivation is health. The Covid-19 lockdown saw organic food sales soar, as people developed a new appreciation for where their food derived from.
However, with the EU/UK transition period ending in a few months’ time, and the possible threat a US/UK trade deal may pose to the quality of certain foods imported by Britain from across the Atlantic, there is a growing interest in food regulations. And when it comes to organic produce, few markets are more tightly controlled.

How is the EU organics food market regulated?

The EU maintains a strict level of control and enforcement over the organic foods sector. Every EU member state must create ‘control bodies or authorities’ to inspect operators in the organics food chain. Furthermore, producers, distributors, and marketers of organic products must be registered with the control body.
The control body will inspect organic food operations and if it is satisfied that EU organic standards are being met, a certificate of confirmation will be issued. Annual follow-up checks are made to ensure certified organisations continue to meet the required standards.
The EU organics logo provides visual assurance to EU consumers that the organic product they are purchasing is produced by a business that has been certified as organic by an authorised control agency or body. In 2018, the EU Commission in partnership with Europol launched a targeted action to clamp down on fraudulent users of the EU organics logo. This resulted in several criminal prosecutions and products being seized or downgraded.

What about imported organic foods?

Any organic food imported to the EU must meet EU organic food standards in terms of production, storage, and transportation. In January 2021, the UK will become a third-country to the EU. Concerns have been raised about the fact that there has yet to be negotiated a national mutual recognition agreement in relation to organic products as part of any future EU/UK trade deal.
According to the UK government’s official website, Britain will “have its own laws for the production, processing, labelling and trading of organic food and feed from 1 January 2021” and “organic standards will remain similar to the EU’s” And unless the EU and UK recognise each other’s standards, the EU organic logo cannot be used by a UK organics business.

Roger Kerr, the CEO of Organic Farmers & Growers, and director of the Organic Trade Board has written:
“Exports of the UK’s organic food and drink to the EU currently stand at £225m. However, this is at risk unless mutual recognition of the UK’s and EU’s organic regulations is agreed as part of Brexit trade negotiations.”

Does this mean that UK produced organic food will not be certified?

Absolutely not. Anyone who grows, processes, or imports organic food for trade within the UK must obtain certification from an approved UK organic control board. You can therefore be confident that UK organic produce meets rigorously high standards. And given that Brussels has confirmed that it will not block food exports from the UK to the EU if trade talks fail, and the size of UK organic exports to the Continent, there is a good chance that a mutual recognition agreement on organic products will be achieved.

Which products are organic at Wellside Foods?

Providing organic food has always been a high priority here at Wellside Foods, and we are constantly updating our offering to provide a diverse range of organic food with organic pasta being very popular.

Here’s a list of our organic products:

 

 

Photo credit: Jakub Kapusnak on Unsplash.