Organic food and drink businesses could face a ban on exports to the EU if there is no deal on equivalency with the EU.
More than 30 organisations have written to chief UK negotiator Lord Frost and the Minister for the Cabinet Office Michael Gove warning of the impact on the organic market.
Unless organic standards ‘equivalence’ is secured as part of the negotiations, the UK will lose access to EU markets automatically at 11pm on December 31, 2020.
That would lead to a loss of value back at the farmgate according to OMSCo managing director Richard Hampton, who signed the letter.
He said: “It would be very disappointing after building premium markets in the EU to lose these due to non-business reasons.”
The letter received a response from Lord Frost which Mr Hampton said was ‘understanding of the issues’, but they were waiting for the EU to state its position.
Currently the EU would not recognise UK organic standards but the UK would almost certainly recognise EU standards, said Mr Hampton.
With imports ‘largely complementary’ Mr Hampton said there was little opportunity for import substitution.
But exports gave them a market for quality British organic products and a market for byproducts.
“Organic whey goes to Europe where the specialist production exists,” he said, adding they also had manufacturing agreements so without equivalence could not produce some of their portfolio.
There were also implications for businesses in Northern Ireland which would follow EU regulations.