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Food Safety

Equivalence requirements for non-EU countries

Field inspection and seed production

Non-EU countries seeking to export to the EU must meet the same criteria for seed characteristics, examination, identification, marking, control and packaging as seed harvested and controlled in the EU.

Seed produced in non-EU countries must offer the same guarantee of quality as EU seed:

  • Officially certified;
  • Officially closed packages following OECD schemes for the Varietal Certification of Seed in international trade;
  • Sampling and testing follows the methods of the International Seed Testing Association (ISTA) or of the Association of Official Seed Analysts (AOSA).

Seed sampling, fastening and labelling of containers can be carried out under official supervision of the competent authorities (in third countries) based on the OECD rules.

Decision 2003/17/EC, Annex I - Countries, authorities and species with seed equivalence


Decision 2005/834EC establishes whether the official checks on practices for the maintenance of varieties in non-EU countries offer the same guarantees as those carried out in the EU. Countries with established equivalence are listed in Annex I of the Decision.