...is based on three pillars
In order to be marketed at the European or National levels, a seed variety must be registered in the official national or European catalogs of cultivated species and plants.
There are two common European catalogs - based on the several national catalogs - in which are included a restricted set of field crops, vegetable and fruit varieties allowed to be marketed in the European Union.
Meaning that varieties of plants that are not registered on these catalogs, cannot be legally sold or exchanged in the EU.
To be registered, a variety must meet several criteria:
1. Being DISTINCT
(clearly distinguishable from the varieties already registered)
2. Being UNIFORM
(giving identical individuals from one crop to another)
3. Being STABLE
(able to conserve its characteristics over successive generations)
This is called the DUS SYSTEM.
These requirements are mandatory and harmonized at the European level by the Community Plant Variety Office (CPVO) on the basis of global guidelines (International Union for the Protection of New Varieties of Plants or UPOV).
Regarding the registration of field plants (cereals), a seed variety must also be tested as having an agronomic, technological and environmental value (Value for Cultivation and Use of the variety or VCU) superior to the most commonly used varieties.
Certification of seed lots and other plant reproductive material (PRM) is also required before it can be legally sold. This procedure entails verification of their identity, health and quality (e.g. in terms of purity, disease resistance or germination capacity).
Seeds are categorized as follow:
This procedure is generally carried out by Member States' official bodies
To be legally sold, seeds must eventually comply with labelling and packaging requirements.