Import requirements plants with growing medium
From 1 September 2019, changed requirements apply to the import of plants with attached growing medium, such as soil, peat, coco peat, perlite, etc. The requirement applies to all plants with attached or associated growing medium, including cuttings. Sterile medium for in-vitro plants is exempted. The requirements apply to imports from all non-EU countries, except Switzerland.
Note, that on 14 December 2019 the text of the requirement was slightly changed, in some cases resulting in the need to use a different option and text for the additional declaration on the PC.
Also note, that since 14 December 2019 all Annexes and Points for the additional declarations have been renumbered, and the relevant parts of the text must be included. For plants with attached growing medium the declaration should now start with (if in English) “Consignment complies with Annex VII point 1, of Commission Implementing Regulation (EU) 2019/2072”, followed by the relevant part of the text of the option that applies (both of part a) en part b) ).
Why additional requirements and for what products?
Growing medium can contain many harmful organisms. The current requirements provide better guarantee that these organisms will not be carried with the attached growing medium. They apply to all plants with attached or associated growing medium, including cuttings. Sterile medium for in-vitro plants is exempted. The requirements apply to imports from all non-EU countries, except Switzerland.
What are the new requirements?
The requirements relate to the growing medium that is present on the plant or in its container at the time of import into the EU. If the plants, including the roots, are completely clean of growing medium at that moment, the requirement does not apply.
The following applies to the growing medium that is present:
Annex VII, point 1
a) at the time of planting the plants in the growing medium (that will be present at the moment of import):
i. The growing medium is free from soil and organic matter, and was not previously used for plant cultivation or other agricultural purposes. (Inorganic materials, such as perlite, oasis, etc., are permitted. This also includes paper and akadama).
ii. OR the growing medium is composed entirely of peat and/or coconut fibre (for example, coco peat) and was not previously used for plant cultivation or other agricultural purposes. (Other organic elements (such as moss, peat moss, straw, rice straw, or combinations thereof) are not permitted unless treated (see options iii and iv).)
iii. OR the growing medium was subjected to effective fumigation or heat treatment to ensure freedom from pests and which is indicated on the phytosanitary certificate under the rubric ‘Additional declaration’ (this means that the agent(s) and method used for the treatment must be indicated on the phytosanitary certificate).
(The NPPO of the Netherlands accepts the declaration of any other effective treatment of the attached soil declared either under this option iii or option iv (see below), provided the agent(s) and method used are indicated in the declaration).
iv. OR the growing medium was subjected to effective systems approach to ensure freedom from pests and which is indicated on the phytosanitary certificate under the rubric ‘Additional declaration’ (this means that any measures being part of the systems approach, including, if applicable, agent(s) and method used for treatments, must be indicated on the phytosanitary certificate).
(The NPPO of the Netherlands considers RHP horticulture-certified soil an effective systems approach, and in case such soil is used, this should be declared under option iv on the phytosanitary certificate. However, it is the official authority of the exporting country that determines which treatments they approve in order to meet this requirement and validates the phytosanitary certificate).
was stored under conditions keeping it free from quarantine pests;
b) since planting in the growing medium (that is present):
i) appropriate measures have been taken to keep the growing medium free from Union quarantine pests, including at least the following:
- physical isolation of the growing medium from soil and other possible sources of contamination
- hygiene measures
- using water free from Union quarantine pests
ii. the medium, including soil, has been completely removed within two weeks prior to export by washing, using water free from Union quarantine pests. Replanting is permitted in growing medium that meets the requirements under a) and appropriate measures are taken to keep the growing medium free from Union quarantine pests as indicated in b) i.
What should be stated on the phytosanitary certificate?
In case growing medium is attached, include an additional declaration regarding Annex VII, point 1 on the certificate. State which option of a) and of b) applies. When writing out the text in full, use the official legislative text for this purpose. See for example the Dutch version (EU) 2019/2072, English version (EU) 2019/2072, Spanish version (EU) 2019/2072 or French (EU) 2019/2072.
Examples of situations, and the options to use for importing into the Netherlands, are provided below:
- The plants have been grown throughout their entire life in inorganic growing medium (such as perlite), and this medium has been kept free from Union quarantine pests during cultivation: use options a) i and b) i.
- The plants have been grown throughout their entire life in coconut fibre and/or peat, and this medium has been kept free from Union quarantine pests during cultivation: use options a) ii and b) i.
- The plants have been grown throughout their entire life in a mixture of inorganic material (such as perlite) and coconut fibre and/or peat, and this medium has been kept free from Union quarantine pests during cultivation: use options a) ii and b) i.
The NPPO of the Netherlands allows such a mixture, provided that in the additional declaration for part a) option ii is stated.
- The growing medium is inorganic and/or peat and/or coconut fibre and was previously used for agricultural purposes: it must be treated before (re-)use (or after potting): use option a) iii or iv.
- The plants have been grown in, or in contact with, (natural) soil and that soil has not or not completely been washed off: the growing medium (e.g. the whole root ball) must have undergone an effective treatment (before or after potting): use options a) iii or iv, and b) i.
- If RHP horticulture-certified soil has been used and is approved as an effective treatment by the official authorities of the exporting country, this must be indicated in the additional declaration as option a) iv. For the agents and method used, state the following: 'Treatment and certification according to RHP protocols' (or an equivalent text in the language used on the certificate).
- If, in addition to RHP soil, other soil (such as clay) is present in the attached growing medium, the growing medium must have been treated, and option a) iii or iv must be used for the additional declaration, and the agent(s) and method applied must be indicated.
Referring to only the RHP-protocol is not sufficient.
What is checked at import?
- If growing medium is present, the inspector checks whether the additional declaration for Annex VII point 1, parts a and b, is present on the phytosanitary certificate. If it is missing, import of the consignment is not permitted.
- If the additional declaration is present, the inspector assesses whether it corresponds to what he or she observes on the consignment. For example, if the phytosanitary certificate states that the consignment only contains peat and/or coconut fibre and the inspector notices (also) clay or clay residues, the consignment is not permitted to be imported. If the inspector detects living organisms (such as insects), he or she may take a sample.
- Besides the changed requirements for attached growing medium, all other requirements remain in full force. Note also the requirements applicable to sawdust from certain types of wood in case sawdust is used as (part of the) growing medium or packaging material.
What can I do to ensure that my plants can be imported?
Your supplier and the official authorities of the country of origin determine whether and in what way the requirements can be met. Ask your supplier whether they know these rules and can comply with them. You should also check whether the authorities will issue a phytosanitary certificate which complies with this requirements, in particular regarding any treatments.
If you have any questions about the correct way on how to state this additional declaration on the phytosanitary certificate, please contact one of the inspection services. You can also contact the inspection services for other questions, or visit the websites of NVWA, Naktuinbouw and KCB.