GB Organic Regulation – NFU submits feedback on future changes

19 February 2024

A photo of organic carrots in a farm shop.

Defra is currently carrying out a regulatory review of the GB Organic sector, which will directly impact organic businesses in the UK. Find out more about the review and how the NFU has been involved so far for its members.

When the UK left formally the European Union, previous EU Organic regulations were retained. In 2021, the EU moved away from this regulation and the new EU Organic regulation 848/2018 came into force.

Defra is now carrying out a regulatory review on the current organic regulations with an aim to merge the retaining EU regulation to make them more suitable for organic farmers. Rules for trading outside of the UK will remain a separate regulation.

19 February 2024

NFU submits feedback on changes

The NFU has submitted a response to Defra's targeted stakeholder feedback exercise, which aimed to give stakeholders the opportunity to provide feedback on the current retained regulations.

Above all, the NFU has highlighted that a baseline organic standard must be available to all farmers which helps them to manage any market fluctuations, which will also ensure that organic products remain affordable to consumers.

A number of suggestions have also been provided for where the organic regulations can be added to, including provisions for livestock production, small abattoirs and contingency plans for notifiable diseases. 

NFU members can log in and read the full submission at: NFU feedback to Defra on GB Organic Regulatory Review

15 December 2023

Defra launches stakeholder feedback exercise

The GB organics regulatory review will be split into 5 broad phases:

    • Aims, scope and principles
    • Production rules and definitions
    • Labelling and development of a UK logo
    • Controls
    • Trade outside of the UK

Currently, Defra is seeking feedback on how the following sections of current GB Organic Regulation can be improved on: 

Retained Council Regulation (EC) 834/2007:

  • Article 2: Definitions
  • Title III: Production Rules, Articles 8-22.

Retained Commission Regulation (EC) 889/2008:

  • Article 2: Definitions.
  • Title II: Rules on production, preservation, processing, packaging, transport and storage of organic products, Articles 3-54.
  • Annexes I, II, III, IV, V, VI, VII, VIII, VIIIa, IX, X and XIIIa.

Following this round of feedback, Defra plan to open a full public consultation of a new draft regulation.

The NFU responded to Defra's feedback call and invited members to submit their feedback, which was collected via survey on this page from 15 December 2023 – 5 February 2024.

The new GB Organic Regulation will be drafted with the Organics Four Nations Working Group with advice from Defra’s newly formed Expert Group on Organic Production.

The four nations working group is the key strategic forum for UK-wide organics issues. Two members of the NFU Organic Forum, Andrew Burgess and Adam Westaway, both sit on the working group to represent the interests of organic farmers.

This page was first published on 03 January 2024. It was updated on 19 February 2024.

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  • 15 December 2023: Defra opens targeted stakeholder feedback on changes to definitions and production rules in current GB organics regulation.
  • 5 February 2023: NFU publishes its feedback on the changes to the regulation that it and its members would like to see changed.