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Food Safety

Plant reproductive material

The EU regulates the marketing of plant reproductive material of agricultural, vegetable, forest, fruit and ornamental species and vines, ensuring that EU criteria for health and quality are met. EU legislation applies to genera and species important for the internal market and is based on:

  • Registration of varieties or material;

  • Certification or inspection of lots of seed and plant propagating material before marketing.

Seed from non-EU countries has to meet equivalence criteria. Non-EU countries guaranteeing they meet these criteria are listed as eligible to export to the EU.

Under certain conditions, EU countries may temporarily market seed which does not meet these standards e.g. when a supply shortage occurs mostly caused by reduced germination of seed.

The Commission establishes the rules in collaboration with national experts in the respective Standing Committees.

Equivalence requirements for non-EU countries

Non-EU countries seeking to export to the EU must meet the same criteria for seed characteristics, examination, identification, marking, control and...

Expert groups and working groups - legislation on plant reproductive material

To advise the Commission on issues relating to the legislation on seeds and plant propagating material and plant variety rights and conservation of...

Plant genetic resources

The International Treaty on Plant Genetic Resources for Food and Agriculture is the global framework for access to agricultural plant genetic...

Plant variety catalogues, databases & information systems

Catalogues are based on the registration of plant varieties in EU countries after they have been technically examined there and notified to the...

Relevance of the sector

The EU seed and plant reproductive material market is one of the biggest in the world. EU seed companies are highly diversified, according to their...