UK-based producers of organic food are warning exports to the European Union could face an outright ban if equivalence is not agreed in Brexit deal talks.

The UK left the EU in January but a so-called transition period is in place while the two markets hold talks to try and forge a trade deal.

More than 30 organisations representing the UK’s organic food and drink sector have written to chief UK negotiator Lord Frost and Cabinet Office minister Michael Gove to express concern about the future of trade and certification of organic products between the UK and the EU.

The letter suggests organic food exports from the UK face being excluded from the EU if agreement between London and Brussels is not achieved by the end of the year. 

Roger Kerr, chairman of the UK Organic Certifiers Group (UKOCG), said: “The market for organic food is an essential, and growing, part of the UK’s import and export economy and is one of a very few sectors which potentially face overnight exclusion from a vital market if a mutual recognition agreement between the UK and EU is not achieved before the 31 December deadline.

“By co-signing this letter as a sector, we are urging the UK government to recognise what is at jeopardy here as we enter a new regime with the EU. Securing mutual agreement between the UK and the EU in relation to organic certification must be a priority for the negotiators.”