Coronavirus (COVID-19) – update 14

Coronavirus (COVID-19) – update 14

2 Apr 2020

We have just received responses from Defra to outstanding questions arising from their letter with regard to original certificates for UK imports of organic and Marketing Standards check – AIS countries. We are also providing you with the confirmation letter from the European Commission to EU Member States with regard to Certificates of Inspection for organic imports which we are aware has been circulating.

Clarification on position of Defra on Organics Certification

Organics Certification - Defra orginal statement

We have agreed to accept electronic certificates of inspection (produced on Traces NT) for organic products. They must be produced before the consignment leaves the third country. The original printed and signed certificates must be presented to Port Health Authorities for endorsement when they become available.

Defra clarification to FPC:

We have written to all Ports confirming the guidance we have received from the Commission. All Port Health Authorities should release consignments where the electronic certificate of inspection has been completed and endorsed by the third country control body on TRACES NT as required by the regulations. The original certificate must then be sent as soon as possible. Consignments arriving without a COI or a COI which has not been endorsed by the control body will not be cleared as organic as there is no evidence that this consignment is organic and can be marketed as such.

For more information see the letter from the European Commission – CLICK HERE

FPC Q: Is this the outcome of the Commission’s deliberations or might we expect some further movement on this by the UK if the Commission moves?

Defra response to FPC:

The measures that we have taken to alleviate the pressure on industry will continue to be reviewed as the situation progresses. Conversations within the Commission are on-going and the UK continues to be part of these where possible. We are committed to continue supporting industry while maintaining high levels of Biosecurity within the UK. We will maintain open lines of communication with industry as this develops.

Marketing Standards HMI checks – AIS countries

We have agreed to temporarily suspend border inspections for consignments from countries that have Approved Inspection Service (AIS). This will mean that all fresh produce consignments that are sent from the 9 countries that hold AIS status will no longer be selected on a risk basis for inspection.

In addition, we are also reviewing the inspection requirements for produce that does not fall into the AIS low risk category. We will work with the Horticulture Marketing Inspectorate to ensure that only Fruit and Vegetable Marketing Standard inspections that are considered a high risk will be performed.

Defra response to FPC:

The EU has an arrangement with 9 third countries. The countries and the goods covered by the agreement are as follows:

  • Switzerland – fresh fruit and veg, other than citrus
  • Morocco – fresh fruit and veg
  • South Africa – fresh fruit and veg
  • Israel – fresh fruit and veg
  • India – fresh fruit and veg
  • New Zealand – apples, pears and kiwifruit
  • Senegal – fresh fruit and veg
  • Kenya – fresh fruit and veg
  • Turkey – fresh fruit and veg

This information can be found here on

If you have any issues and queries please contact us.