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Potatoes and Plant Passports

Plant Passports & Seed Potatoes

20/08/2021

This fact sheet outlines information regarding Plant Passports (PP) as they apply to seed potatoes.

These apply to UK businesses involved in activities such as the production, processing and supply of seed potatoes.

What is the Plant Health Regulation (PHR)?

  • The PHR was part of a wider set of changes which have been introduced under the Smarter Rules for Safer Food (SRSF) package of regulations, these were carried over into British legislation following EU Exit.
  • Plant health helps agriculture and forestry sectors remain sustainable and competitive, as well as protecting domestic biodiversity and ecosystems.
  • Globalised trade and climate change now present a greater risk to these sectors. The PHR sets out controls and restrictions that will apply to imports and internal movement within the UK of certain plants, plant pests, and other materials like soil; helping to reduce these risks.

Updates in the following areas:

  • Farmed saved seed potatoes do not require a PP, nor do ware potatoes.
  • However, if you are responsible for the movement of seed potatoes, you will need to be registered with the competent authority.
  • Due to the current Seed Potato Classification Scheme (SPCS) you will not be required to become authorised to issue PPs, this will be done by the Animal and Plant Health Agency (APHA) on your behalf due to the nature of the SPCS.
  • The PP will be combined with your certification label.

What has changed?

Plant Passports:

  • More information and guidance around the issuing of plant passports can be found by visiting GOV.UK  and the Plant Health Portal.
  • The PHR sets out a list of Union Quarantine Pests (UQPs) as well as a list of pests and their hosts (plants/seeds), known as Regulated Non-Quarantine Pests (RNQPs), which are regulated.
  • Plants that may be hosts of RNQPs require a PP. These plants are also subject to a range of measures to control the presence of RNQPs including inspections, sampling and/or testing. More information and guidance can be found in Schedules 4 and 5.

Registration:

As stated above, PPs for certified seed potatoes will be issued by APHA, meaning you will need to be registered with the competent authority, but not authorised to issue PPs.

  • Registration is a free and simple process and requires the form for registration to be completed. Businesses whose principle place of business is in Scotland or Northern Ireland should contact the competent authorities in those territories for further advice on registration and authorisation.

Attaching PPs to products:

  • Under the regulations the PP must be attached to the smallest tradeable unit.
  • All online and sales through distance contracts must have a PP provided to the final consumer.

Record keeping:

  • Your records must allow APHA to investigate any plant pest or disease outbreak. You must keep records of all PPs for three years.
  • If a supplier sends you a PP in the form of a label, you may store this physically or digitally. You don’t have to keep supplier documents.

What does your businesses need to do now?

  1. Further information can be found on plant passports on GOV.UK  and on the UK Plant Health Portal.
  2. Ensure you are registered as a professional operator with APHA.
  3. Ensure you can meet requirements around traceability and record keeping.

Where can I find more information?