29 april 2019
The European Commission has worked on changes to the phytosanitary legislation (2000/29/EG). There will be new EU import rules for the growing medium attached to or associated with plants for planting. A final EU decision has been taken and will enter into force at September 1st 2019. What does this entail exactly?
The goal of the new stricter EU requirements is to prevent outbreaks of plant diseases and plagues in the European Union because of the import of high risk plant material, including propagation material and growing media imported from countries outside of the EU, so-called ‘third countries’.
The phytosanitary EU guidelines keep getting stricter. In the past it was sufficient to shake the plants loose in the last two weeks before shipment and to inspect plants with the naked eye for adhering soil (visual inspection). These options become obsolete with the new regulations. The new requirements are described in the EU 2019/523 on pagenumber 56 (website of the Dutch NVWA).
RHP certified substrates meet the requirements for a clean start of the culture. The RHP product certification scheme includes requirements that are more extensive than the EU guidelines. In order to apply the RHP quality mark, both the quality of the product and the process in the entire chain is monitored. So from excavation of raw materials to processing and delivery at the company of the customer. In the production chain requirements are set to hygiene, storage and transport of the substrate. Processes and products are checked independently by a Certification Institute. RHP substrate producers deliver growing media to growers around the world under the RHP quality mark. In short, producers of plant material can trust that RHP certified companies do everything to make sure that the delivered products are pure and clean for the start of the culture.
There has been a guideline about what to do when a quarantine organism is present in the (plant) material or culture or is suspected to within the EU. This needs to be reported immediately to the qualified authority, in The Netherlands that is the Dutch Food and Consumer Product Safety Authority (Nederlandse Voedsel- en Warenautoriteit, NVWA). The NVWA then decides which measures need to be taken, for example a call back obligation.
During a meeting on 19 July 2018 at Royal FloraHolland in Aalsmeer about the list of high risk plants, RHP’s Gerrit Wever explained the future, stricter EU import requirements for adhering soil as part of plants for planting.