To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what assessment he has made of the potential merits of exempting organic wine from certificate of organic importation requirements.
We have no plans to exempt organic wine imports from the requirement for Certificates of Inspection that apply to all organic products imported into Great Britain (GB). These regulations exist to ensure that products sold as organic in GB meet the legal requirements and ensure consumer confidence in the integrity of the sector. Granting exemptions to these regulations for specific categories of product would be inappropriate and detrimental to consumer confidence.
Certification of organic products and organic operators (producers, processors, exporters and importers) is a long-established practice across the world. Organics is a method of production set in legislation. Certification of products and operators is an essential element for confirmation of the provenance and organic status of products and adherence of operators to organic requirements. Maintenance of consumer confidence that products marketed as organic are organic is vital.
Any business importing organic products into GB must be registered and certified by a UK control body. Organic imports from non-EU/EEA/Swiss third countries continue to require a GB Certificate of Inspection which must be approved before the organic products leave the third country. From 1 July 2022 organic imports from the EU, EEA and Switzerland will also require a GB Certificate of Inspection.
The Government is working to streamline bureaucratic processes inherited from the EU regulatory system to allow for a more flexible and responsive way to handle our regulatory obligations while reducing costs for producers and the burden on the public purse. For example, Defra has laid new legislation that streamlines updating the lists of recognised third countries and third country control bodies for organics goods being imported into GB. We have further streamlined the import process by accepting electronic (PDF) Certificates of Inspection.