Changes to the Seed Marketing and Seed Potato Legislation in Scotland
Seed and seed potato certification is a European Community requirement to ensure that farmers and growers purchase recognised varieties of a known minimum quality. Seeds, seed potatoes and crops of the main agricultural and vegetable species can only be marketed in the EU if the variety is listed either on a National List or the EU Common Catalogue. Further to this they require to be examined and certified as meeting specified minimum EC standards. These standards include purity (a specified standard for the number of weeds and other non-seed matter allowed); varietal purity (the seed / crop is all one varietal type); and germination. Amongst other requirements, there is also a need for the containers to be sealed and labelled to prevent the tampering of the seed.
The European Commission has made amendments to seed marketing and seed potato directives and Scottish Government is now required to implement these changes into our own domestic legislation.
Hybrid Spring Swede Rape
Commission Implementing Directive 2016/11 has amended the oil and fibre plant seed marketing directive, to allow for a reduced varietal purity standard for certified seed, which includes hybrid varieties of spring and winter swede rape. The current 90% standard no longer reflects the special technical features of modern breeding methodology or the limitations in seed production of hybrid spring swede rape.
Seed Schemes established by the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development have reviewed the varietal purity standards, and propose that the purity standards for hybrid spring swede rape for certified seed be reduced from 90% to 85%. The EU agreed to accept these international standards, and the proposal was adopted by the Commission and Member States in January 2016. Scottish Government is required to transpose the Directive change into our own domestic legislation by 31st December 2016.
The reduced varietal purity for hybrid spring swede rape is a relaxation in the standard and therefore causes the growers of this crop no additional burden. The majority of Scottish rape seed is winter varieties (99%). Spring varieties are mainly exported for biofuels, with a very small amount processed in Scotland for edible oil.
Official Assigned Unique Serial Number on Each Official Label
Commission Implementing Directives 2016/317 and 2016/320 – all seeds and seed potatoes being marketed must have an official label attached to the container. An official label provides details of the seed or seed potatoes being sold, and also allows for an audit trail, since merchants are required to log official label / seed lot details.
Recently, in Europe there have been a number of cases of fraudulent use of official labels. The Commission wants to ensure that competent authorities have systems in place that allow for better control and recording of the printing, distribution and use of individual official labels by seed and seed potato operators. By introducing the requirement of an official assigned unique serial number on each official label, the security and ability to track seed lots will improve.
Provisions in the Directives cover official assigned serial numbers for categories of certified seed (2016/317) and for seed and seed potatoes which have an application for entry onto the national catalogues (2016/320) (Test and Trials Seed). The changes brought about by the Directives are required to be transposed into our seed potato and seed marketing regulations (which provide for beet, cereals, fodder, oil and fibre, and vegetables).
Transposition of Directives 2016/317 and 2016/320 into Scottish legislation will meet the EU requirement for an officially assigned serial number to be on UK certification labels. Officially assigned serial numbers are already a labelling requirement throughout the UK, and have been since before the UK joined the EU. Therefore no additional burdens are being introduced to the UK seed or farming industry.
This article is to inform the seed potato and seed marketing industry of the changes that the Commission has asked EU Member States to implement. As the reduced varietal purity standard will not introduce any burden on hybrid spring swede rape growers, and official certification labels for seed potatoes and small seeds already have an official assigned unique serial number, the impact falls on the SG Policy Division of Agricultural and Rural Affairs to implement these amendments into our domestic legislation.
The Seeds (Miscellaneous Amendments) (Scotland) Regulations 2016 will fully implement the directives 2016/11, 2016/317 and 2016/320. This Scottish Statutory Instrument will be laid in the Scottish Parliament in November 2016 and the 85% varietal purity standard for hybrid spring swede rape will come into force on the 31 December 2016.
On this article, the Commission directives or the implementation of these directives can be obtained by e-mailing or calling Carol Scott
Telephone: 0300 244 9504
No Fee Increases for Seed Certification or Seed Testing in 2015
A recent Scottish Government (SG) review on the costs for seed certification, seed testing and associated functions (courses, exams, licences etc.) has shown that there is no need to amend any fees in the Seed (Fees) (Scotland) Regulations 2014 or the Official Seed Testing Station for Scotland Certification Seed Testing Fees 2014.
Scottish Government is committed to maintaining a transparent and robust service for seed certification, seed testing and the functions associated with certification. Over the next couple of years with the help of Key Stakeholders and volunteers from the seed industry, we will review how we provide official supervision for licenced individuals, the courses and exams run by SASA and hope to find more cost effective ways to undertake these tasks, but at the same time retain the level of effectiveness without it being a burden to either party.
In 2015, SG are to set up a series of workshops that will give you the opportunity to review our possible options and hopefully contribute to one of your own. More information will be provided on the workshops via the web, e-mails and seed cert letters. SG hopes that you will be able to attend.
Latest Changes to Legislation
Council Decision 2003/17/EC provides a list of countries to be recognised for the application of the equivalence principle for importation of fodder plant seed, cereal seed, beet seed and seed of oil and fibre plants from third countries. General licences 2013/1 and 2013/2 have been issued by the Scottish Government to allow this provision to continue until 31 December 2017, unless revoked earlier by Scottish Ministers.
General Licence 2013/1: Cereal Seed, Fodder Plant Seed and Oil & Fibre Plant Seed - Equivilence of field inspections carroiesd out in third world countries
General Licence 2013/2: Beet Seed - Equivilence of field inspections carried out in third countries
General Licence 2013/3: Plant Varieties and Seeds Act 1964* - The Cereal Seed (Scotland) Regulations 2005
SASA - Guidance Notes and Seed Certification Information Letters - simplification of what the changes in policy/Regulations means for the certification scheme.
BSPB have issued a Question and Answer Guide to frequently asked enquires on farm–saved seed. You can find it on the BSPB web site at http://www.bspb.co.uk/sg_userfiles/Farm-Saved_Seed_FAQs_FINAL_Aut13.pdf
Please check it out and remind yourself the regulations surrounding farm saved seed.
Policy - Any consultations or results of consultations