NFU seeks mutual equivalence between UK and EU organic standards

The National Farmers’ Union (NFU) is calling all organic farmers and growers to write to their MP to express their concerns about securing mutual equivalence between UK and EU organic standards.

The NFU is urging organic farmers and growers to highlight the significant impacts British organic farmers and growers will face, without regulatory alignment on organic standards.

A spokesperson for the NFU said:

“At the end of December 2020 we will leave the transition period and the terms on which food and drink are traded will change.

“Unless equivalence for UK organic standards is secured as part of the UK-EU negotiations, British organic products will not legally be able to be sold as organic in the EU or Northern Ireland, due to its status as part of the EU’s regulatory regime.

UK organic products will have to be sold in the EU as conventional and would subsequently lose its premium market value.

“The best outcome for the organic sector would be to secure mutual recognition of the UK and EU organic regulations in the form of an equivalence agreement.

“The UK’s organic regulation already meets all the requirements of the current EU organic regulation which should make negotiations in this area straightforward.

“The UK Organic Control Bodies have applied for recognition under the current EU Regulation (EC) 1235/2008.”

In the event of these applications being successful, but without mutual recognition, it is estimated that around 80% of UK organic farmers will face needing to comply with two organic regulations; the current EU regulations, and the new organic regulations being enforced across the EU in 2022.

The NFU said that this would lead to significant additional costs and regulatory burden onto British farmers and growers.