Export certification: seeds as a pathway

With the adoption of ISPM 38 on international movement of seed, the NPPO has started to analyze the existing phytosanitary requirements for seeds on its merits for the purpose of export certification. An important element of ISPM 38 is the analysis of whether seed is a pathway for introduction and establishment of plant pests.

In recent decades, import requirements for seeds have become more specific as a result of pest risk analysis performed by NPPOs. In previous years requirements could be as generic as ‘the seed should be free from’ a particular plant pest. Many import requirements are still formulated with such generic statements; with this it remains unclear for the NPPO of the Netherlands if an analysis has been conducted on whether or not seed is a pathway.

For export certification of seeds from the Netherlands, the NPPO of the Netherlands assumes that, when a NPPO requires the generic additional declaration ‘seed free from’ or variants thereof, this condition is only required for pests for which seed is a proven pathway.
The NPPO of the Netherlands will continue to include a generic additional declaration in its phytosanitary certificates for such pests if this is part of the requirements, where it is considered that absence of the pest is default based on the fact that these seeds are not a pathway.
NPPOs are encouraged to assess the pest risks associated with seeds as a pathway and consider whether the transmission of pests occurs under natural conditions when setting import requirements.