In December 2019, new Plant Health Regulations came into force in the UK.
In October 2016, the EU adopted Plant Health Regulation (EU) 2016/2031 which applies from 14 December 2019 to all EU member states, including the UK. The purpose of the regulation is to strengthen biosecurity controls and to protect the EU from quarantine pests by preventing introduction and effectively dealing with any outbreaks. In the UK this effects the movement of plants between commercial growers and to the public via postal services.
So how were we affected?
As a nursery, we had to register through DEFRA (Department for Environment, Food & Rural Affairs) to obtain permission to issue Plant Passports. Having received our official registration number we are now delighted to say that officially, our plants meet the phytosanitary requirements that apply within the EU.
We have had to put in place processes that allow tracking and traceability of our plants and plant material. Currently, Plant Passports are only required for plants sent via Mail Order (known in the legislation as Distance Selling) but are not required for direct supply to final users (i.e. members of the public), so we do not need to issue them for plants sold at the nursery or at shows and fairs.
What is covered?
Plant passports are only required for plant material that is or could be planted: this includes all ornamental plants, propagation material, some seed (including certain vegetable seeds and potato seed and tubers, i.e. seed potatoes), certain oilseed crops, and also for potted herbs for culinary use. Plant passports are not required for fruit and vegetables, with a few exceptions such as certain citrus.
How is a plant passport used?
Plant passports have to meet specific requirements in terms of content and format, and they have to be attached to the ‘trade unit’ of the plants. This could mean a tray of plants, but in many cases it will mean the individual pot or even directly onto the plant via label.
What will you will see on your plants?
As previously said, the passport has to follow a strict format. After 9 months of issuing EU plant passports, Brexit means we have to change the format and our passports are now UK Plant Passports only and MUST contain the following fixed elements:
Top of passport: the words ‘UK Plant Passport’
Below these must lie:
A: Botanical name of plant
B: Nursery registration number - number only as GB prefix no longer required post Brexit
C: Traceability code e.g. batch number
D: Country of Origin Code
For further information please see https://www.gov.uk/topic/producing-distributing-food/crops-horticulture or contact us via email at firstname.lastname@example.org
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