UK peers have called for an update on UK-EU talks surrounding a post-Brexit organics equivalence agreement as farmers fear organic food exports could be banned. Lord Kinnoull, chair of the House of Lords EU Select Committee, has written to Defra's farming minister Victoria Prentis expressing concern over the issue.
Producers are still in the dark over whether they will be permitted to continue exporting their products, marketed as organic, to the EU and Northern Ireland after 1 January 2021. Unless organic standards equivalence is secured as part of Brexit talks, the UK will lose access to EU markets automatically after the transition period.
UK 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. This means they would have to be sold in the EU as conventional and would subsequently lose its premium market value.
"Please provide an update on the negotiations for a UK-EU organics equivalence agreement," Lord Kinnoull said in his letter dated 4 November. "If there is no UK-EU organics equivalence agreement that results in the UK being listed in the relevant EU Regulation annex, UK control bodies will need to be recognised by the EU for this trade to continue.”
"We would be grateful for an update on the status of the UK control bodies’ applications for EU recognition, and on the government’s conversations with the European Commission regarding these applications."