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Food Safety

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

Short report of the meeting held on 14 and 15 February 2000

Chairman: Mr. Obst (for item 6.2)
Mr. Valvassori (for the other items)

All Member States present. The Community Plant Office (CPVO), Iceland and Norway participated as obervers.

1. Possible implementing measures to be taken under Council Directive 98/95/EC

The results of a meeting of Rapporteurs held on 9 and 10 February 2000 were discussed.

(a) Varieties for which applications for entry in the catalogue have been submitted. A consensus on several conditions under which the authorization should be granted, within a future Community system, was achieved. However, some points need further discussion, in particular: in the case of agricultural plants the notion of appropriate quantities; in the case of vegetables whether or not the trials carried out by the applicants must be officially inspected.

The Commission services asked the Member States to complete their information on the experiences already gained with the existing national systems.

(b) Definition of marketing.

The Committee on reflection appeared reluctant to support any initiative by the Commission to implement urgently exemptions on "supply of seed to providers of services for the production of certain agricultural raw materials intended for industrial purposes".

2. Progress report on screening in respect of candidate countries for accession to the EU

The Commission Services informed the Committee on the "screening" results on the "quality of seeds and propagating material" acquis in the case of Malta, Bulgaria, Latvia, Lithuania, Romania and Slovakia (meetings held from 27 January to 4 February 2000).

3. Possible amendment of Council Directive 66/401/EEC on the marketing of seed of fodder plants, in respect of the requirements for seeds of wild oats

The Council Directive 66/401/EEC provides for a nil tolerance in respect of wild oats in seeds of fodder plants. More specifically freedom must be found by officially testing seed samples of a specified weight.

A Member State proposed to amend the Directive to no longer require seed testing, should alternative conditions be met, mainly freedom of the seed crops from plants of wild oats, as assessed by official field inspections and observation during sampling.

A large majority of Member States confirmed that they were not willing to support a Draft Commission Directive with a view to such an amendment.

The Commission services considered to proceed first through a temporary experiment based on Article 13a of the Council Directive. Such an experiment should be limited exclusively to grass seed of the category "certified seed" and not prejudge the possibility under Article 14(1a) for Member States to be authorized to prescribe that seed may be marketed in their territories only if meeting more strict conditions.

4. Increasing of the fodder seed lot size

The Committee noted that the International Seed Testing Association (ISTA) has decided to prolong its provisional rules on increasing the fodder seed lot sizes. For countries participating in the ISTA experiment, it will be possible to issue ISTA certificates on fodder seed lots with a maximum seed lot size from 10 tons to 25 tons.

The Committee advised the Commission to organize a temporary experiment, on the basis of Article 13a of Council Directive 66/401/EEC. The experiences gained by the previous EU experiment under Commission Decision 92/195/EEC, which ceased on 1 March 1999, should be carefully considered.

5. EU Comparative Trials

5.1. Trials 2000/2001 (planting material harvested in 1999) under Council Directives 66/401/EEC, 66/402/EEC, 66/403/EEC and 69/208/EEC.

The Committee noted that the draft Decision setting out the above trials, as submitted for opinion to the Committee on 28 January 2000, has been adopted by the Commission on 15 February 2000.

5.2. Future Trials

The Committee confirmed its readiness to discuss the strategy to be followed in the future, including an improved balance of distribution of the available resources, taking into account trials and tests in areas other than agriculture (vegetable, vine, fruits, ornamental plants). It indicated also its readiness to discuss the criterium of "call for tender" for selecting the official responsible bodies.

6. Common catalogues of varieties agricultural and vegetable plant species

6.1. Current supplements

The Delegations noted the following drafts

(a) supplements covering the notifications 18 December 1999 - 4 February 2000 on agricultural plant species

(b) supplements covering the notifications 1 January - 10 February 2000 on vegetables

and

- agreed on the draft on agricultural plant species (already available to the relevant Member States' experts)

- reserved to comment on the draft on vegetable by 25 February 2000

- agreed to confirm in writing that none of the varieties covered by the above and admitted into their national catalogues is a GMO variety.

In respect of the "pending" varieties, i.e. those for which the "accelerated" procedure was not successful in 1998 or 1999, and as a consequence of the Council Directive 98/95/EC should from 1 February 2000 be admitted in the Common Catalogue, the Committee:

- noted the tendency of the Commission to list the varieties ALICE (Linum usitatissimum) and TENOR (Brassica campestries)

- discussed the case of GMOs varieties

and noted in particular the new information presented by the countries of admission and that of the Countries which advised the Commission not to include such varieties into the Common catalogue or to provide for exemptions to marketing such a seed in their territories.

A progress report of the meeting of the Working Party on the Common Catalogues, held on 12 and 13 January 2000, was presented. The representative of the Commission services reported on the following points

- frequency of the publication on OJ

- current job of maintaining the Catalogues

- synonyms

- changes of names

- accuracy

- technical information, including double-zero (glucosinolate and erucic acid content) turnip/swede rape varieties and THC (the psychotropic substance tetrahydrocannabinol) content of hemp varieties

- electronic exchange of data

6.2. Suitability of the denominations of varieties

Article 63 of Council Regulation (EC) N° 2100/94 on Community Plant Variety Rights established provisions in respect of the variety denomination including its suitability.

Council Directive 98/96/EC which has amended the various marketing Directives has provided, so far as the suitability of the denomination of a variety is concerned, for both agricultural and vegetable plant species, a cross reference to the above mentioned Article 63 of the Council Regulation on Community Plant Variety Rights and has also provided that detailed implementing rules may be adopted in accordance with the Standing Committee procedure.

The Committee noted a draft Commission Regulation in the form of a working document.

An exchange of views took place.

7. Other business

The Committee noted:

(a) Requests in respect of less stringent requirements

(aa) forest reproductive material of Douglas fir

(bb) seed of durum wheat

(cc) seed of timothy and field pea

(b) OECD documents on "the presence of GMO varietal impurities in seed lots of non-GMO varieties"

(c) ISTA documents on the accredition of seed company laboratories.

(d) information from COSEMCO on trials of hybrids of swede rape and turnip rape

(e) a progress report on the codification of the Council Directives 66/400/EEC, 66/401/EEC, 66/402/EEC, 66/403/EEC, 69/208/EEC, 70/457/EEC and 70/458/EEC.

(f) a delegation urged the Commission to initiate discussions on the implementation of Council Directive 1999/105/EC on the marketing of forest reproductive material, recently adopted.

(g) an announcement by the Portuguese presidency on the Council working programme on

- proposal COM (2000) 64 for a Council Decision amending Decisions 95/513/EEC and 95/514/EEC (equivalence of seed and seed potatoes produced in third countries)

- proposal COM (2000) 59 for Council Directive amending Directive 68/193/EEC (vine vegetative propagating material).

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

Liste des participants

Etat Membre

Ministère ou Organisme

Nombre de personnes

BE

Ministère des Classes Moyennes et de la l'Agriculture

2

DK

Plantedirektoratet

2

D

Bundessortenamt

3

EL

Ministry of Agriculture - Plant Production Inputs - Seed and other Prop.Mat.Division

1

EL

Ministry of Agriculture - Variety Research Institute of Cultivated Plantes

1

E

Min. de Agricultura, Pesca y Alimentacion - Oficina española variedades vegetales

2

F

Ministère de l'agriculture et de la pêche sous direction de la foret

1

F

Service Officiel de Contrôle

1

IRL

Ministry of Agriculture - Department of Agriculture, Food and Rural Development

1

I

Ministero delle Politiche Agricole

1

I

ENSE

1

NL

NAKTUINBOUW

2

A

Bundesamt und Forschungszentrum für Landwirtschaft

2

P

Ministerio da Agricultura - Direccão Geral de Proteccão das Cultúras

1

FIN

Ministry of Agriculture and Forestry

1

S

Swedish Board of Agriculture

1

UK

Ministry of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food

2

N

Ministry of Agriculture

1

CPVO

Community Plant Variety Office

1

COM

European Commission - SANCO E.1

5

 

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