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Food Safety

Health - Regulatory Committees - Standing Committee on Agricultural, Horticultural and Forestry Seeds and Plants

Short report of the meeting of the Standing Committee on Seeds and Propagating Material for Agriculture; Horticulture and Forestry held on 17 and 18 February 1998

Chairman: D. Obst

All Member States present, except Luxembourg. For the purpose of the votes Luxembourg mandated Belgium.

The Community Plant Variety Office (CPVO) and Norway participated as observers.

Draft Decision authorising Member States to permit temporarily the marketing of seed of vetch (Vicia sativa L.) not satisfying the requirements of Council Directive 66/401/EEC

This Decision would authorise for a limited period the marketing of seed of vetch meeting less stringent requirements, in order to overcome difficulties in supply experienced in France.

Voting: favourable opinion by unanimous vote.

Draft Decision authorising Member States to permit temporarily the marketing of seed of durum wheat (Triticum durum L.) not satisfying the requirements of Council Directive 66/402/EEC

This Decision would authorise for a limited period the marketing of seed of durum wheat meeting less stringent requirements, in order to overcome difficulties in supply experienced in Germany and Austria.

Voting: favourable opinion: 77 for and 10 abstentions.

Draft Decision authorising Member States to permit temporarily the marketing of seed of field pea (Pisum sativum L.) not satisfying the requirements of Council Directive 66/401/EEC

This Decision would authorise for a limited period the marketing of seed of field pea meeting less stringent requirements, in order to overcome difficulties in supply experienced in Denmark, Austria and Sweden..

Voting: favourable opinion: 82 for and 5 abstentions.

Draft Decision authorising Member States to permit temporarily the marketing of seed of sheep's fescue (Festuca ovina L.) not satisfying the requirements of Council Directive 66/401/EEC

This Decision would authorise for a limited period the marketing of seed of sheep's fescue meeting less stringent requirements, in order to overcome difficulties in supply experienced in Sweden.

Not put to the vote.

Accelerated inscription of additional varieties of agricultural plant species on to the Common Catalogue (varieties notified since 16 December 1997).

A total of 266 varieties were duly notified.

However the necessary statement from the 15 Member States could not be made at this stage in respect of five varieties.

As a point of information the Member States were asked if the list of the remaining 261 varieties subject to accelerated inscription to the Common Catalogue included any GMO varieties. All delegations stated or notified that, to the best of their knowledge, they did not.

The Standing Committee noted that, pursuant to Article 15(4) of Council Directive 70/457/EEC, the delegations of all Member States stated or notified that their respective countries did not intend to lodge any application under the procedure laid down in Article 15(2) of that Directive in respect of these 261 varieties, which were accepted in the other Member States and for which the communications provided for in Article 10(1) and (2) of the said Directive were made.

Inclusion into UPOV-CD ROM of the Common Catalogues of the varieties of agricultural and vegetable plants

A request from UPOV for such an inclusion was presented and received strong support from the Standing Committee, provided that the data from the Common Catalogues would be in principle reproduced in their entirety.

Technical protocols for Community Comparative trials and tests on seeds or propagating material of agricultural and vegetable plants, to be carried out in 1998 (harvest 1997)

These protocols specify the conditions under which Community comparative trials and tests may be carried out on seeds or plant propagating material of:

  1. sunflower (field plots) (E)
  2. swede rape (field plots) (UK)
  3. grasses (field plots) (D)
  4. garlic (field plots) (F)
  5. winter barley (field plots ring tests) (NL)
  6. winter wheat (field plots ring tests) (UK)
  7. durum wheat (field plots ring tests) (I)
  8. turnip rape (field plots ring tests) (FIN)
  9. agricultural crops (swede and turnip rape, maize and sunflower electrophoresis ring tests) (F)

They aim to ensure that proper conclusions on the compliance of the seed with the Community requirements may be drawn therefrom.

The Committee gave preliminary approval of the protocols pending the completion of further procedural aspects. When this procedure has been completed the protocols will be put to the Committee for final approval.

OTHER BUSINESS

1. GMO varieties of vegetables

The Committee noted a request sent by the Commission on 22 December 1997 to the Member States to inform it as to whether the vegetable varieties to be entered in the Common Catalogue currently in production included any GMO varieties. All delegations notified or stated that, to the best of their knowledge, they did not.

2. Session of Experts on Standardisation of Seed Potatoes (United Nations - Economic Commission for Europe) held in Geneva 9 to 12 February 1998

An oral report of the session was given by the Commission. The Committee noted particularly that the meeting of the relevant Working Party to adopt the proposed changes to the Standards for Seed Potatoes is scheduled for November 1998.

3. Meeting of Rapporteurs for Seed Potatoes held on 26 and 27 January 1998

An oral report was given by the Commission. The Committee noted particularly that certain technical items will be included on the Agenda for the meeting of Experts at the Seed Potato Comparative Trial in July 1998.

4. Co-operation with the Standing Committee on Plant Health in respect of Community comparative trials and tests on propagating material

The Committee was informed of some suggestions which were made by the Standing Committee on Plant Health during its meeting on 30 January 1998, relating to the co-operation in respect of the technical protocols for the 1998/99 trials and of tests of potato, strawberry, carnation and pelargonium.

5. Request from Finland for an authorisation for seed of linseed under less stringent requirements

The Committee noted the above request.

6. Information from France relating to 3 GMO varieties of maize

The Committee was provided with copies of the publication in the French Official Journal (8 February 1998, page 2037) of a Ministerial Decree relating to the listing of 3 GMO varieties of maize on the French "Official catalogue of species and varieties cultivated in France". The varieties in question are César Cb, Furio Cb and Occitan Cb.

7. Next meetings (Working Parties or Rapporteurs)

  • 23 February 1998: Rapporteurs on Vegetatively Reproduced Material of Vine
  • 24 February 1998: Working Party on Vegetatively Reproduced Material of Vine
  • 25 and 26 February 1998: Working Party on the Common Catalogue of Varieties of Agricultural Plant Species
  • 3 and 4 March 1998: Working Party on the Common Catalogue of Varieties of Vegetable Plant Species
  • 2 and 3 April 1998: Rapporteurs on the Simplification of Standards in Seed Testing.

J. HEINE,
Deputy Director General

N.B. The measures on which the Committee has given an opinion are subject to the appropriate procedure for formal adoption by the Commission.

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