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Council Directive 2002/57/EC of 13 June 2002 on the marketing of seed of oil and fibre plants aims to improve the quality of Community oil and fibre plant seed by means of a uniform certification scheme for the Community which permits, as a general rule, Member States to restrict the marketing of oil and fibre plant seed to that which has been officially certified. Certification can only be granted if the seed has been found by official examination to fulfil the conditions laid down in the Directive, notably previous cropping, identity and purity of variety, minimum distances from neighbouring pollen sources and the presence of harmful organisms in respect of crops; and varietal identity and purity, germination, analytical purity, content of seeds of other plant species and the presence of harmful organisms in respect of seeds. Oil and fibre plant seed harvested in countries outside the European Community may only be marketed within the EU if the seed affords the same assurances as seed officially certified within the Community. Furthermore, the Directive addresses the need for the identity of seed to be ensured throughout the marketing processes and lays down rules to ensure this, namely that seed be marketed in sufficiently homogenous lots and in sealed tamper-proof packaging. In addition, specific requirements are set out regarding sealing, labelling and documentation.

It should be noted that a Community legislation has been in place since 1969 (former Council Directive 69/208/EEC; consolidated through Council Directive 2002/57/EC on the marketing of seed of oil and fibre plants). It should be noted that some Member States have been released from the obligation of applying the Directive to certain oil and fibre plant species not normally reproduced or marketed in their territory.

Where appropriate, the Commission is assisted by Member States in adopting measures related to Council Directive 2002/57/EC through the Standing Committee on Seeds and Propagating Material for Agricultural, Horticulture and Forestry.

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