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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 1 and 2 December 1997

Chairman: D. Obst

All Member States present, except Luxembourg. For the purpose of the votes Luxembourg mandated Belgium. Norway participated as an observer.

Commission Decision authorising Member States to permit temporarily the marketing of vine propagating material not satisfying the requirements of Council Directive 68/193/EEC

This Decision authorises the marketing for a limited period of material from Croatia meeting less stringent requirements, in order to overcome difficulties in supply experienced by Italy.

Voting: favourable opinion by unanimous vote.

Draft Commission Decision authorising Member States to permit temporarily the marketing of vine propagating material not satisfying the requirements of Council Directive 68/193/EEC

This draft Decision authorises the marketing for a limited period of material from Hungary and Romania meeting less stringent requirements, in order to overcome difficulties in supply experienced by Austria.

Not put to the vote.

Commission Decision extending the period referred to in Article 15(2a) of Directive 66/403/EEC on the marketing of seed potatoes

This Decision extends the current period of the validity of Member States' authorisation to import seed potatoes from Canada until 31 March 1998. This is in the light of parallel derogations granted under the plant health legislation.

Voting: favourable opinion by unanimous vote.

Commission Decision on the carrying out of Community comparative trials and tests on seed potatoes under Article 14 of Directive 66/403/EEC

This Decision provides for the carrying out of Community comparative trials and tests on seed potatoes marketed in the European Union, in order to ensure that proper conclusions on their compliance with the Community requirements may be drawn therefrom.

Voting: favourable opinion by qualified majority (77 for and 10 abstentions).

Technical protocols for Community comparative laboratory tests on agricultural seeds and on vegetable seeds

These protocols provide the conditions under which laboratory tests on agricultural seed and vegetable seed should be carried out to check the accuracy and reproducibility of the results obtained in the Member States.

The Committee approved the protocols.

Possible amendment to Council Decision 95/514/EEC on the equivalence of seed produced in third countries

A possibility of an extension to the current seed equivalence regime in respect of seed harvested in Turkey, to include fodder plant seeds, was considered by the Committee.

The majority of the Delegations supported a Commission initiative with a view to such an extension.

Draft Decision on a temporary experiment on seed sampling and seed testing under Council Directives 66/400/EEC, 66/401/EEC, 66/402/EEC and 69/208/EEC

The draft Decision establishes a temporary experiment under specified conditions, for assessing whether seed sampling and seed testing under official supervision may constitute an improved alternative to official sampling and testing as currently required for official seed certification.

The Committee unanimously supported the Commission initiative, but certain delegations expressed reservation on the proposed conditions relating to the proportions of the seed lots to be subject to official supervision.

Inclusion in the Common Catalogues of agricultural and vegetable species, of a reference to the fact that a variety has been genetically modified

This Commission initiative is to clearly indicate GMO varieties as such in the Common Catalogues.

The possible lay-out of such indication, with reference to the definition of a genetically modified organism within the meaning of Article 2(2) of Council Directive 90/220/EEC of 23 April 1990 was unanimously supported. However certain delegations suggested the addition of more specific details relating to the individual varieties.

Accelerated inscription of further varieties of agricultural plant species IN the Common Catalogue (varieties notified since 20 October 1997)

As a point of information the Member States were asked if the current list of varieties subject to accelerated inscription in to the Common Catalogue included any GMO varieties. All delegations responded 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 the varieties listed below, which were accepted in the other Member States and or which the communications provided for in Article 10(1) and (2) of the said Directive were made:

Species Variety Country of
admission
Red fescue Barcorsa NL
Red fescue Quinta NL
Perennial ryegrass Anton D
Perennial ryegrass Navarra D
Sanfoin Visnovsky D
Field peas Selector DK
Rye Fernando DK
Rye Nikita DK
Maize Elita F
Maize Georgina F
Maize Talita F
Maize Virago F

Possible amendments to Decisions on experiments on "Seed in bulk to the final consumer" (Decision 94/650/EC), "seed of hybrids and varietal associations of swede rape and turnip rape" (Decision 95/232/EC) and "maximum content of inert matter in soya bean seed" (Decision 96/202/EC)

Seed in bulk to the final consumer.

The decision 94/650/EC aims to assess whether marketing of seed in bulk to the final consumer may be permitted on a permanent basis. The Committee discussed the reports of the experiences gained by the participating Member States, with the result that it was proposed to extend the duration of the experiment beyond 31 December 1997 to 30 June 2000.

Seeds of hybrids and varietal association of swede rape and turnip rape.

The decision 95/232/EC aims to assess the condition to be satisfied by the seed of such hybrids.

The Committee discussed the report of the experiences gained by the participating Member States, with the result that it was proposed to extend the duration of the experiment beyond 31 December 1997 to 31 December 1998.

Maximum content of inert matter in soya bean seed.

The decision 96/202/EC aims to assess whether or not the definition of inert matter in soya been seed should permanently include non seed material.

The Committee discussed the reports of the experiences gained by the participating Member States with the result that it was considered unnecessary to amend Council Directive 69/208/EEC.

Working Programme of the Committee

Particular emphasis was placed on four main subjects:

  • the simplification of the seed testing procedures
  • the development of measures relating to the conservation of plant genetic resources
  • the establishment of a Community decision on the marketing of seed potatoes, produced by micro propagation techniques, in the form of "mini" tubers
  • the adaptation of existing Community legislation to accommodate hybrid varieties - as a priority, those of wheat.

Other business

The Committee was updated in relation to the various matters under preparation for submission to the Council (codification of the seed directives; revision of the directives on propagating material of forestry and vine plants).

J. HEINE
Deputy Director General

N.B. : The measure on which the Committee has given its opinion is subject to the appropriate procedure for formal adoption by the Commission.

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