Council Directive 2002/55/EC of 13 June 2002 on the marketing of vegetable seed recognises that the production of healthy, high-quality vegetables depends to a large extent on the seed used for the cultivation of vegetable plants and sets up a scheme to enhance the quality of Community vegetable produce. It stipulates that vegetable seed of registered varieties may only be marketed if it has been officially examined and certified (or in some cases checked as a seed of a category not officially certified). In order to be so certified, seed must pass the stringent requirements laid down in the Directive. In addition to requirements for the quality of seed, the Directive also lays down provisions for ensuring the identity via rules on packaging, sampling, sealing and marking. It should be noted that several countries have been exempted from applying the Directive in respect of certain vegetable species and that a Community legislation has been in place since 1970 (former Council Directive 70/458/EEC; consolidated through Council Directive 2002/55/EC on the marketing of vegetable seed). In recognition of the fact that vegetable planting material, as well as seeds, may be used to propagate vegetables, Council Directive 2008/72/EEC on the marketing of vegetable propagating material, other than seed set up a scheme to establish harmonised conditions at Community level to ensure that purchasers throughout the Community also receive vegetable propagating and planting material which is healthy and of good quality. The Directive stipulates that such material may only be marketed if it meets the conditions set out in technical schedules. These concern quality and purity of the crop, varietal characteristics, the propagation system applied, and in order to ensure that identity, provisions relating to labelling, sealing, packaging and documentation. Suppliers are responsible in the first instance for ensuring that material meets the requirements of the Directive and vegetable propagating and planting material may only be marketed by suppliers accredited by the responsible official body of the Member State.
For vegetable seeds and propagating material other than seed to be marketed throughout the Community, vegetable varieties must be listed in the Common Catalogue. This is compiled on the basis of the National Catalogues of Member States, which are drawn up in accordance with uniform rules so that varieties are only accepted if they are distinct, stable and sufficiently uniform.
Both Council Directive 2002/55/EC on the marketing of vegetable seed and Council Directive 2008/72/EEC on the marketing of vegetable propagating material other than seed allow the marketing within the Community of material produced in countries outside the Community provided that it affords the same assurances as material produced within the Community, complying with the standards laid down in the two Directives.
Where appropriate, the Commission is assisted by Member States in adopting measures related to Council Directive 2008/72/EEC and Council Directive 2002/55/EC through the Standing Committee on Seeds and Propagating Material for Agriculture, Horticulture and Forestry.Legislation