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Seed Potatoes Regulations (Northern Ireland) 2001

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Citation and commencement

1.—(1) These Regulations may be cited as the Seed Potatoes Regulations (Northern Ireland) 2001 and, with the exception of regulation 22, shall come into operation on 25th May 2001.

(2) Regulation 22 shall come into operation on 31st December 2001.

Interpretation

2.—(1) In these Regulations—

the Act” means the Seeds Act (Northern Ireland) 1965;

“authority concerned” means the authority in the country or place where seed potatoes are produced which is concerned with the certification and classification of seed potatoes in that country or place;

“basic seed potatoes” means—

(a)

in relation to seed potatoes produced in Northern Ireland, seed potatoes in relation to which a certificate classifying them as seed potatoes of a basic category has been issued in accordance with Schedule 1;

(b)

in relation to seed potatoes produced elsewhere, seed potatoes in a lot or part of a lot imported into Northern Ireland in a package or container, to or in which has been affixed or placed a label or document, approved by the authority concerned which states that on examination of the potatoes they were classified as seed potatoes of a basic category in that country or place where the Department has approved the arrangements applying to basic seed potatoes in that country or place as being equivalent to those applying in Northern Ireland;

“certificate” means a certificate issued by the Department in accordance with the provisions of Schedule 1 stating in respect of the seed potatoes to which it relates the particulars specified in Schedule 3;

“certification” means—

(a)

in relation to seed potatoes produced in Northern Ireland, certification in accordance with the provisions of Schedule 1;

(b)

in relation to seed potatoes produced elsewhere, the official controls exercised by and the official examination carried out by the authority concerned;

“class” means—

(a)

in relation to seed potatoes produced in Northern Ireland the class in which the seed potatoes were placed during the course of classification and specified in the certificate relating to those potatoes, being, in the case of pre-basic seed potatoes, the class or one of the classes specified in order of superiority in Column 1 of Table I in Schedule 2, and in the case of basic seed potatoes any one of the classes specified in order of superiority in Column 1 of Table II of Schedule 2; and

(b)

in relation to seed potatoes produced elsewhere, the class stated in a label or document approved by the authority concerned, being a label attached to or document contained in the package or container in which the seed potatoes are imported into Northern Ireland;

“Common Catalogue” means the Common Catalogue of varieties of seed potatoes published in the Official Journal of the European Communities;

“Community grade” in relation to basic seed potatoes means one of the grades designated by Commission Directive 93/17/EEC(1) determining Community grades of basic seed potatoes, together with the conditions and designations applicable to such grades;

“damage” means damage arising from the action of extreme temperature or from bruising or in any other way if such damage is likely to impair germination and growth or allow the spread of any disease or pest;

“Department” means the Department of Agriculture and Rural Development;

“disease or pest” means a disease or pest set out in Groups I to III in Column 1 of Tables I, II, III, IV and V of Schedule 6;

“export” and “import” respectively mean the sending out of Northern Ireland to any other place and the bringing into Northern Ireland from any other place;

“genetically modified” has the same meaning as for the purposes of Council Directive 90/220/EEC(2) on the deliberate release into the environment of genetically modified organisms;

“grower’s number” has the meaning assigned to it in regulation 8(2);

“lot” means an identifiable part of a consignment which is recorded and listed as a separate item in an invoice, delivery note or other document provided in accordance with regulation 15;

“member State” means a member State of the Communities;

“official examination” means an examination carried out by or on behalf of the Department;

“official label” means a label which complies with the requirements set out in Part I of Schedule 5 and which is supplied by or on behalf of either the Department or the authority concerned;

“package or container” means—

(a)

a bag, or sack, which has been previously unused and which does not exceed 50 kg in capacity; or

(b)

a box, or crate, which has either been previously unused or has been cleaned and disinfected since its previous use;

“potato” means a tuber or part thereof or any plant or part thereof of Solanum tuberosum L or other tuber-forming species or hybrid of Solanum;

“pre-basic seed potatoes” means—

(a)

in relation to seed potatoes produced in Northern Ireland, seed potatoes in relation to which a certificate classifying them as seed potatoes of a pre-basic category has been issued in accordance with Schedule 1; and

(b)

in relation to seed potatoes produced outside Northern Ireland, seed potatoes being a lot or part of a lot imported into Northern Ireland in a package or container, to or in which a label or document, approved by the authority concerned has been affixed or placed, stating that on examination of the potatoes they were classified as seed potatoes of a pre-basic category in that country or place where the Department has approved the arrangements applying to pre-basic seed potatoes in that country or place as being equivalent to those applying in Northern Ireland;

“protected region” means Northern Ireland and any of those regions listed in the Annex to Commission Decision 93/231/EEC(3);

“sealing device” means a device used to seal a package or a container of seed potatoes which will be broken if it is applied to a package or a container and that package or container is opened in the ordinary way subject to—

(i)

such a device not being deemed to include an official label which is machine stitched into the mouth of the bag;

(ii)

in the case of seed potatoes produced in Northern Ireland such a device being deemed to include an official label which is machine stitched into the mouth of the bag and which is also endorsed with the official stamp of the Department;

“seed potatoes” means potatoes which bear that description or any description indicating their suitability for planting and propagation and which are capable of being used for planting and propagation or any potatoes that are intended to be used for planting and propagation;

“seed potatoes produced elsewhere” means seed potatoes produced outside Northern Ireland and imported into Northern Ireland in compliance with Orders made under the Plant Health Act (Northern Ireland) 1967(4) which regulate the landing of potatoes in Northern Ireland;

“size” means the size of the square of the mesh of the riddle or gauge through, or by means of which, seed potatoes are passed or retained.

(2) These Regulations are without prejudice to the provisions of the Plant Health Order (Northern Ireland) 1993(5).

(3) In these Regulations a reference to a tolerance in a sample shall be construed in relation to seed potatoes in the sample affected by—

(a)disease, damage, blemish, pest or any combination thereof as a reference to the proportion, expressed as a percentage of the weight of potatoes so affected, in relation to the total weight of potatoes in the sample;

(b)earth or other extraneous matter as a reference to the proportion expressed as a percentage, of the weight of such matter in relation to the total weight of potatoes in the sample.

(4) In these Regulations “marketing” means—

(a)selling, holding with a view to sale and offering for sale; and

(b)any disposal, supply or transfer, for the purpose of commercial exploitation of seed potatoes to third parties, whether or not for consideration.

(5) Trade in seed potatoes not aimed at commercial exploitation of the variety, such as the following operations—

(a)the supply of seed potatoes to official testing and inspection bodies; or

(b)the supply of seed potatoes to any person for the purpose of processing or packaging the seed potatoes provided he does not acquire title to the seed potatoes supplied,

shall not be treated as marketing of seed potatoes of that variety.

(6) The Interpretation Act (Northern Ireland) 1954(6) shall apply to these Regulations as it applies to an Act of the Northern Ireland Assembly.

Exemption

3.  These Regulations shall not apply to seed potatoes produced in the Republic of Ireland consigned through Northern Ireland to a destination outside Northern Ireland if, without being unloaded in Northern Ireland, they are moved direct from the point of entry to the point of exit.

Marketing of seed potatoes

4.—(1) Subject to the provisions of regulation 21, a person shall not market any potatoes as seed potatoes other than pre-basic seed potatoes or basic seed potatoes.

(2) Subject to the provisions of regulation 21, a person shall not market any pre-basic seed potatoes or basic seed potatoes—

(a)which have been treated with a product which is produced primarily as an application for inhibiting germination;

(b)as being of a class superior to that into which such potatoes were classified;

(c)as being of a class inferior to that into which such potatoes were classified except with the approval of the Department; or

(d)otherwise than in a lot which meets the requirements as to varietal purity and size specified in Schedule 4.

(3) Subject to the provisions of regulation 21, a person shall not market any seed potatoes within the protected region other than—

(a)pre-basic seed potatoes; or

(b)basic seed potatoes of a Community grade.

(4) The prohibition in paragraph (1) shall not apply to the marketing of small quantities of seed potatoes, other than seed potatoes which contain any genetically modified material, for scientific purposes or selection work.

(5) If the conditions specified in paragraph (6) are satisfied the prohibition in paragraph (1) shall not apply to the marketing for scientific purposes or selection work of small quantities of seed potatoes which contain any genetically modified material.

(6) The conditions referred to in paragraph (5) are—

(a)the deliberate release of the genetically modified material has been authorised under a Part B consent, or the genetically modified material has been accepted for marketing in accordance with a Part C consent, issued for the purposes of Council Directive 90/220/EEC on the deliberate release into the environment of genetically modified organisms;

(b)the seed potatoes are accompanied during marketing by a copy of the consent;

(c)all appropriate measures, in accordance with an environmental risk assessment in respect of the material carried out in accordance with Article 7(4) of Council Directive 70/457/EEC(7), have been taken by the producer of the seed potatoes to avoid adverse effects on human health and the environment; and

(d)in the case of genetically modified material accepted for marketing with a Part C consent, an authorisation has been granted by the Department of the Environment in accordance with paragraph (7) to the person marketing the potatoes.

(7) An authorisation may be granted by the Department of the Environment for the purpose of paragraph (6)(d) if:—

(a)the person intending to market the small quantity of seed potatoes for scientific purposes or selection work has made application to that Department no later than 15 working days before the seed potatoes are marketed—

(i)giving that Department notice of the person’s intention to market a small quantity of seed potatoes for scientific purposes or selection work; and

(ii)giving that Department such information relating to the acceptance for marketing of the variety of the seed potatoes concerned under Council Directive 90/220/EEC, and the scientific purposes or selection work in respect of which the marketing is to be carried out, as that Department may require for the purposes of identifying the marketing and determining whether or not to grant the authorisation; and

(b)that Department is satisfied that—

(i)the applicant has complied with each of the provisions of sub-paragraph (a); and

(ii)an authorisation would be in accordance with the purpose of Article 4a1.(a) of Council Directive 66/403/EEC(8) on the marketing of seed potatoes, as last amended by Council Directive 98/96/EC(9).

Seed potatoes from third countries: information

5.  A person who imports a package containing a net weight of more than 2 kilograms of seed potatoes produced in a country other than a member State shall not market the seed potatoes unless that person provides the Department with the information specified in Part III of Schedule 5, in respect of the seed potatoes.

Production measures in the interests of plant health

6.  The production of seed potatoes shall at all stages be conducted in such manner as to ensure that they do not come into contact with any potatoes other than seed potatoes during growing, harvesting, storing, preparation for marketing, transportation, handling and grading.

Separation in the interests of varietal purity

7.  The production of seed potatoes shall at all stages be conducted in such manner as to ensure that they are kept separate from—

(a)seed potatoes of any other class or variety;

(b)any potatoes other than seed potatoes.

Certification and classification

8.—(1) Application for certification of seed potato crops shall be made to the Department with such information, in such form and in such manner as it may require.

(2) On receipt of an application under paragraph (1) the Department shall allocate to the grower who produces the seed potatoes in respect of which such application has been made a number to be hereinafter called a “grower’s number”.

(3) Certification and classification of basic seed potatoes and pre-basic seed potatoes shall be carried out by an authorised officer in accordance with the provisions of Schedule 1 and Schedule 2.

(4) A certificate shall not be issued in respect of seed potatoes which fail to meet the requirements and tolerances—

(a)set out in Table II of Schedule 2 in respect of Class A, or

(b)set out in regulations 4, 5, 6 and 7.

(5) The Department may withdraw a certificate after it has been issued where an authorised officer is satisfied that the seed potatoes in respect of which that certificate has been issued have not been so grown, harvested, stored, prepared for marketing, transported, handled or graded as to ensure that seed potatoes of each class or variety have been or are kept separate from all other potatoes.

(6) The Department may refuse to issue a certificate in respect of any seed potato crop for which an application for certification has been made under paragraph (1) where the applicant has failed to pay to the Department any amount by way of levy due by him in accordance with Article 3(1) of the Seed Potatoes (Levy) Order (Northern Ireland) 1985(10).

Community grading of basic seed potatoes

9.—(1) Basic seed potatoes marketed within Northern Ireland shall be graded by an authorised officer into one of the Community grades.

(2) Basic seed potatoes marketed outside Northern Ireland which fulfil the requirements of a Community grade may be graded by an authorised officer into that Community grade.

Packages and containers

10.—(1) Subject to paragraph (2) and regulation 12, a person shall not, in the course of marketing, deliver or cause to be delivered a lot otherwise than in a package or container.

(2) A person shall not export, attempt to export or cause the export from Northern Ireland of a lot produced in Northern Ireland otherwise than in a package or container marked with the information and complying with the requirements set out in Part II of Schedule 5.

(3) Each lot delivered, or intended for delivery, in the course of marketing shall be homogenous to the extent that the contents of each package or container in the lot is fairly and truly representative of the contents of all packages or containers in the lot.

(4) Each package or container in the lot shall be so packed that any potatoes exposed to view, or which would be exposed to view if the package or container is opened, are representative in size, condition and quality of the entire contents of that package or container.

Genetically modified seed potatoes

11.  A person shall not market genetically modified seed potatoes unless—

(a)it is clearly indicated in the sales catalogue of the person marketing the seed potatoes and in any other marketing information or marketing representations provided by that person, that the seed potatoes have been genetically modified; and

(b)any label or document, whether official or otherwise, affixed to, accompanying or following a lot or any part of a lot in accordance with the provisions of regulation 10(2), 12 or 15, shall clearly indicate that seed potatoes have been genetically modified.

Labelling of packages and containers

12.—(1) Subject to regulation 16, a person shall not market a package or container of pre-basic seed potatoes or basic seed potatoes otherwise than in accordance with the provisions of paragraphs (2), (4), (5) and (6), and regulation 14.

(2) Subject to paragraph (4), there shall be attached to the outside of each package or container an official label on which there is correctly stated in relation to the contents the particulars set out in Part I of Schedule 5.

(3) Application for official labels for pre-basic seed potatoes or basic seed potatoes produced in Northern Ireland in respect of which a certificate has been issued under regulation 8 shall be made to the Department with such information as the Department may require. A person shall not in connection with the issue of an official label supply any information which is false in a material respect.

(4) If a package or container has been re-sealed in accordance with regulation 14 by an authorised officer or an officer of the authority concerned the official label in respect of it shall also state—

(a)that the package or container has been so re-sealed;

(b)the date of re-sealing;

(c)the authority responsible for such re-sealing.

(5) Subject to paragraph (6) where pre-basic seed potatoes or basic seed potatoes have been treated with a chemical product the name of the chemical product or the generally recognised abbreviation of the chemical name or the proprietary name of that product shall be stated on a label attached to the package or container.

(6) Paragraph (5) shall not apply where the statement required thereby is indelibly printed on the package or container or on a wear and tear resistant label, or adhesive label, attached to that package or container.

(7) A person shall not in connection with the marketing or preparation for marketing of pre-basic seed potatoes or basic seed potatoes wilfully reproduce, remove, deface, conceal or misuse in any way—

(a)an official label;

(b)a label attached in accordance with paragraph (5) or (6);

(c)a label approved by the authority concerned; or

(d)any particulars or statement printed on such package or container.

Withholding or withdrawal of sealing devices or official labels

13.—(1) An authorised officer may in respect of a lot or any part thereof withhold or withdraw a sealing device or official label where the officer is reasonably satisfied that—

(a)the lot or part thereof has not been so harvested, stored, prepared for marketing, transported, handled or graded as to ensure that seed potatoes of one class or variety have been or are kept separate from all other potatoes;

(b)the lot or part thereof does not comply with the requirements as to varietal purity and size specified in Schedule 4 in relation to a lot of seed potatoes of the class stated on the label;

(c)the lot or part thereof is not contained, or intended for delivery, in a package or container;

(d)the lot or part thereof has been treated with a product which is produced primarily as an application for inhibiting germination;

(e)a sample taken from the lot exceeds any of the tolerances for disease, pest, damage, blemish or impurity specified in the Tables set out in Schedule 6;

(f)an official label already issued in respect of the lot contains particulars which are false in a material respect;

(g)the lot is delivered, or intended for delivery, in conditions which expose potatoes in the lot to damage by frost or other weather conditions; or

(h)there has been any other failure to comply with the provisions of these Regulations.

(2) Where a certificate has been issued in respect of a crop and Potato Cyst Nematode is subsequently found in the land in which any of the potatoes comprised in that crop were grown an authorised officer shall cancel such certificate in respect of any unsold portion of that crop or part thereof.

(3) If in the opinion of the Department weather conditions are such that they do not permit delivery in the course of marketing of pre-basic seed potatoes or basic seed potatoes produced in Northern Ireland without a risk of damage by frost to such potatoes the Department may, for such period as it may decide, withhold sealing devices for such potatoes. A decision so to withhold sealing devices shall be communicated by the Department to representatives of such interests as appear to the Department to be concerned.

(4) An authorised officer shall not, without the authority of the person who in accordance with regulation 8 made application for certification and classification of the crop, apply a sealing device to any seed potatoes from such crop.

Sealing of packages and containers

14.—(1) Subject to paragraph (3) and regulation 16, a person shall not market a package or container of pre-basic seed potatoes or basic seed potatoes produced outside Northern Ireland unless that package or container has been sealed by or under the supervision of an authorised officer or an officer of the authority concerned and the sealing device thus applied remains unbroken.

(2) Subject to paragraph (3) and regulation 16, a person shall not market a package or container of pre-basic seed potatoes or basic seed potatoes produced in Northern Ireland unless that package or container has been sealed by an authorised officer and the sealing device thus applied remains unbroken.

(3) Where a sealing device on a package or container of pre-basic seed potatoes or basic seed potatoes has been broken that package or container shall not be re-sealed with a sealing device except by or under the supervision of an authorised officer or an officer of the authority concerned.

(4) An authorised officer may refuse to seal any package or container of pre-basic seed potatoes or basic seed potatoes as required by paragraph (2) for any person who has failed to pay to the Department any amount by way of levy due by him in accordance with Article 3(2) and (3) of the Seed Potatoes (Levy) Order (Northern Ireland) 1985.

Separate note, etc., of Schedule 7 particulars

15.  Subject to regulation 16, a person who sells, consigns or delivers pre-basic seed potatoes or basic seed potatoes shall furnish to the purchaser, not later than 14 days after the sale or the delivery, whichever is the later, of such seed potatoes a sale note, delivery note, invoice or similar document setting out in respect of those seed potatoes the particulars listed in Schedule 7.

Retail sales

16.  Regulations 10, 12, 14 and 15 shall not apply to a sale by retail of a quantity of less than 50 kg of pre-basic seed potatoes or basic seed potatoes—

(a)where, at the time of sale, there was conspicuously displayed on or in close proximity to the seed potatoes a statement setting out the particulars listed in Schedule 7; or

(b)in new containers, upon each of which there is printed or otherwise legibly or indelibly marked or to or in which there is attached or inserted a label setting out the particulars listed in Schedule 7.

Tolerances

17.—(1) Where particulars of the variety of seed potatoes being marketed are stated pursuant to these Regulations, the particulars so stated shall be deemed to be correct if the varietal impurity of those seed potatoes does not exceed 0.1% by number of tubers or plants.

(2) The tolerances set out in Column 4 of Tables I and II of Schedule 2 are to be calculated as the number of plants in a sample affected by disease or impurity expressed as a percentage of the total number of plants in that sample.

(3) The tolerances specified in the Tables set out in Schedule 6 are to be calculated as the weight of seed potatoes in a sample affected by disease or pest, damage, blemish or impurity expressed as a percentage of the total weight of seed potatoes in that sample.

Taking of samples

18.—(1) Where a sample of seed potatoes is required for the purposes of these Regulations such sample shall be taken by an authorised officer in accordance with the provisions of this regulation.

(2) Where a sample of seed potatoes is required in connection with the certification or classification of seed potatoes an authorised officer may take a sample of the soil in which the crop of such potatoes is growing or of any part of the plant of that crop, of such quantity or number and from such part of that crop as the officer may think appropriate.

(3) Where a sample of seed potatoes is required otherwise than as is mentioned in paragraph (2) an authorised officer shall take the sample in accordance with the provisions of Schedule 8.

Sub-standard seed potatoes

19.—(1) Where in the course of an official examination of seed potatoes an authorised officer is reasonably satisfied that such potatoes do not meet the requirements of these Regulations the officer shall serve a notice on the person in whose possession or charge the potatoes appear to be so informing that person and prohibiting delivery in the course of marketing of those potatoes as seed potatoes.

(2) Where in the course of an official examination of seed potatoes an authorised officer is of the opinion that any of such potatoes are affected, or may within a period of 14 days beginning with the date of such examination become affected, by a disease, pest or damage to such an extent that such potatoes may not meet the requirements of these Regulations the officer may serve a notice on the person in whose possession or charge the potatoes appear to be so informing that person and prohibiting delivery of those potatoes.

(3) A notice under paragraph (1) or (2) may require the person upon whom such notice is served to carry out on such premises at such time, within such period and in accordance with such methods as are stated in the notice the measures set out therein, being measures which in the opinion of the authorised officer are necessary—

(a)to ensure that the requirements of these Regulations are met; or

(b)to prevent the spread by means of the seed potatoes of any disease or pest, including in particular, but without prejudice to the generality of the foregoing, any of the measures set out in Schedule 9.

(4) The measures set out in a notice under paragraph (1) or (2) shall—

(a)not be varied except by or in accordance with the consent of an authorised officer;

(b)be carried out to the satisfaction of an authorised officer by and at the expense of the person upon whom the notice has been served.

(5) Where a notice under paragraph (1) or (2) has been served, and until such time as the requirements of that notice have been complied with to the officer’s satisfaction, an authorised officer may withhold or remove or cause to be removed and retain any official label, or sealing device.

Records and information

20.—(1) A person who produces pre-basic seed potatoes or basic seed potatoes shall for a period of not less than 2 years maintain records of—

(a)such potatoes purchased by him for planting;

(b)particulars of the crops grown from such potatoes; and

(c)the sales or other disposal of the produce of those crops.

(2) A person who markets pre-basic seed potatoes or basic seed potatoes shall for a period of not less than 2 years thereafter maintain a record of the person’s marketing of such pre-basic seed potatoes or basic seed potatoes.

(3) A person who produces, markets or otherwise has or has had possession of or charge of pre-basic seed potatoes or basic seed potatoes shall, if so required by notice from an authorised officer, within 7 days of the service of the notice, give to an authorised officer any information in that person’s possession as to the identity, address and occupation of the person in whose possession or under whose charge such potatoes are or have been and shall also produce for examination by an authorised officer any declaration, certificate, label, record or invoice relating to the planting, classification or marketing of such potatoes.

(4) Information given under paragraph (3) shall not be available as evidence in any proceedings under these Regulations against a person required to give such information except in respect of an alleged failure to comply with this regulation.

Power to exempt

21.  Notwithstanding any provision in these Regulations the Department may, subject to such conditions as it thinks fit, exempt any person, class of person or persons generally from compliance with any of the requirements of these Regulations in respect of seed potatoes.

Amendment of the Plant Health Order (Northern Ireland) 1993

22.  In Article 19 (Restriction on the planting of potatoes) of the Plant Health Order (Northern Ireland) 1993 after paragraph (2) there shall be added the following paragraphs—

(3) A person shall not plant or knowingly cause or permit to be planted, in Northern Ireland, potatoes other than—

(a)potatoes which may be marketed in Northern Ireland under the Seed Potatoes Regulations (Northern Ireland) 2001; or

(b)one year’s direct progeny of such potatoes, where that direct progeny has been grown by that person.

(4) Persons involved in the planting of potatoes in Northern Ireland shall retain and make available to an inspector documentation specified in paragraph (5).

(5) The documentation required by paragraph (4) shall be in the form of—

(a)an official label together with either an invoice or delivery note, or

(b)where potatoes marketed or marketable under the Seed Potatoes Regulations (Northern Ireland) 2001 or their direct progeny were produced by the holder of a certificate, the certificate.

(6) In this regulation “certificate” and “official label” have the same meanings as they have in the Seed Potatoes Regulations (Northern Ireland) 2001..

Modifications of the Act

23.  The operation of the provisions of the Act referred to in paragraphs (a) and (b) shall in connection with these Regulations be modified as follows—

(a)section 7 shall not apply in respect of seed potatoes;

(b)section 9 sub-sections (2), (4), (5), (6), (7), (8) and (9) shall be omitted.

Revocations

24.  The Regulations specified in Schedule 10 to these Regulations are hereby revoked.

Sealed with the Official Seal of the Department of Agriculture and Rural Development on 1st May 2001.

L.S.

R. S. Johnston

A senior officer of the

Department of Agriculture and Rural Development

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