Updated Plant Passports in 2019

This time next year all plants for planting will need to have a plant passport. You may have seen some of these new plant passports with the EU flag already in use with some plants.  The new regulations to modernise the EU plant health system came into force December 2016 and will be applicable from 14 December 2019. These changes have been introduced to increase protection for plants and European environment and to better deal with new threats of pests and disease. At the time of drawing up the new regulations Xylella fastidiosa would have been in the headlines and a concern for all.

The system at present is based on the national authority in each country inspecting their own producers on a regular basis to ensure that they meet a minimum notional standard – at least that plants are healthy. Annual inspections by plant health inspectors here are used ensure our good plant health status. It is the mutual trust that other countries do the same that allows us to trade freely in the EU and further afield, and not need to closely inspect every shipment received.

What the updates will mean for the industry:

  • Registration for all professional market participants
    • The national authority of each EU country will hold a list of every registered plant producer and marketer. It will be a legal requirement to be registered.  
    • Registered participants will continue to receive regular inspections
  • Renewed rules for the use and layout of the plant passport (see 2017/2313 / EU)
    • Plant passport will be compulsory for  ‘all plants intended for planting’ except  seed and for the non commercial end user (see article 88)
    • new plant passport format including the EU flag (see regs and examples) but a wide range of interpretations of the format
    • retain plant passport records for 3 years

The major stock control programmes such as Win tree, Growmaster and Herbst etc can already capture the information and this should not be an significant change for most growers using the system. Stocks of labels should be carefully managed to ensure you don’t carry over excess obsolete stock in to 2020. There will be a transition phase where old passports wil remain valid (possibly 4 years). Growers can from the first of January 2019 use the new format for all plants.

More details to follow in the new year.