The marking requirements for plants and seeds also cover mail order and Internet sales


<div>Plant and seed trading is more and more being carried out via the Internet or by mail order. When browsing through Internet pages and planning purchases you should remember to check the information given on the products. In mail order and Internet sales, certain information as set out in the Plant Material Act (1205/1994) has to be displayed on plants and seeds just as in the plant retail shops. </div>

The following information should be displayed for the buyers of plants and of seeds of fruit trees, berry bushes and ornamental plants:
- the scientific and Finnish or Swedish name of the plants,
- variety or similar designation (also for the rootstock),
- country or countries of production,
- grading markings and
- the name of the seller or the grower.

The name of the seller or grower does not have to be mentioned separately for the plant, if the name is listed on the Internet page or otherwise in the mail order catalogue.

Also the size of the plants is important information as the customers can not see the plants. The grading markings indicate the size or age of the plants for sale. As to containerized plants, the size of the container has to be displayed in litres or centimetres, in addition to the grading marking.

The information has to be displayed for the following products:
- trees and shrubs (including fruit trees and berry bushes),
- perennials,
- flower bulbs and tubers,
- vegetable plant seedlings,
- seeds of trees and shrubs,
- seeds of annuals and other herbaceous ornamental plants,
- foliage plants and
- pot and bedding plants

Markings for vegetable plant seeds:
For vegetable plant seeds there are separate requirements based on the Seed Trade Act. The following mandatory information has to be displayed on vegetable seed packages:
• species and variety,
• information on the packer or identification number,
• month and year of closing the package or determination of the last date of germination and
• seed class.

When ordering seeds for vegetable plants from outside the EU, the buyers themselves have to ensure that the variety is included in the EU common catalogue of varieties of vegetable species. When trading with EU countries, the seller has to ensure that the variety is included in the catalogue of varieties of vegetable species.

Remember the risks for plant pests when ordering from abroad
When ordering plants from abroad, there is a risk that plant diseases and insect pests might spread. Therefore even purchases by private individuals are covered by legislation. When ordering plants from abroad, the import conditions such as import bans and requirements for certificates and markings have to be controlled.

Fireblight - a dangerous plant disease
When it comes to host plants for fireblight you have to be especially alert, as fireblight is a dangerous plant disease which spreads with garden plants that are common here. Host plants for fireblight can be acquired from EU countries only if they have a ZP plant passport marking. That shows that the plants have been grown in an area free from fireblight. It is not permitted to acquire these plants at all from outside the EU.

Host plants for fireblight are
serviceberry ( Amelanchier spp.), flowering quince or Japanese quince ( Chaenomeles spp.),
Cotoneasters ( Cotoneaster spp.), hawthorns ( Crataegus spp.),
quinces ( Cydonia spp.), loquats ( Eriobotrya spp.),
apple trees ( Malus spp.), medlars ( Mespilus spp.),
Photinia davidiana, firethorns ( Pyracantha spp.),
pear trees ( Pyrus spp.) and rowans or mountain ashes ( Sorbus spp.).

Import bans from outside the EU and certification requirements
From the countries outside the EU, there are, in addition to the host plants for fireblight, certain other plants that have a complete import ban due to the risks of pests and diseases. There is an import ban on for example coniferous plants, grapevines and citrus trees. Even plants that are permitted have to be accompanied by a phytosanitary certificate issued by the authorities of the country of origin when importing from countries outside the EU, and the plants are controlled when imported. Both the certificate and the control are subject to a fee.

In practice, when ordering from the Internet or by mail order it can be impossible to get a phytosanitary certificate along with the consignment, as the seller should have to acquire it separately from the authorities of the country in question. If the required certificate does not accompany the consignment, the import is not legal. In addition to plants, the requirement for a certificate concerns cuttings, tubers and other propagation material and pot plants. There is also a certification requirement for the seeds of some plant species. Orchids are also covered by the CITES limitations for endangered plants.

More information on the subject:

For more information, please contact:

  • Senior Officer Paula Lilja, Evira, tel. +358 20 77 25043 (plants and plant health)
  • Senior Officer Jari Poutanen, Evira, tel. +358 20 77 25126 (plants and plant health)
  • Senior Officer Ritva Vallivaara-Pasto, Evira, tel. +358 20 77 25320 (seeds of vegetable plants)

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