European Union Expanding Inspections for U.S. Plant Product Imports

Tulip Pride Varieties (De Vroomen Garden Products) European UnionBusinesses that export plant products to the European Union (EU) should be aware of new regulations taking effect on December 14 that will require a phytosanitary certificate for most plants and plant products. 

The Washington State Department of Agriculture (WSDA) is alerting the state’s growers (although growers across the country should also be aware) that before plants and other raw and minimally processed plant products can enter EU member states, as well as Switzerland and Montenegro, shipments must be inspected and receive a phytosanitary certificate. Without the necessary certification, shipments will be rejected without recourse. 

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The new EU regulations are meant to prevent the introduction of plant insects and disease pests. The regulations reflect a change that was made in 2016; however, implementation was delayed until this year.  

The new regulations affect virtually all plant products. While some plant products already require phytosanitary certification, many have not had any requirements to enter the EU market. Plant products that will now require phytosanitary certification include:  

  • Fruit and vegetables (other than preserved by deep freezing) 
  • Cut flowers 
  • Cut trees or branches retaining foliage 
  • Grain or grain products 
  • Hop bales, pellets and cones 
  • Seeds 
  • Other unprocessed or minimally processed plant products, including wood  

In addition to the new certifications, 36 high-risk plant groups will be completely prohibited from entering the EU until the USDA establishes additional certification standards for these products. 

WSDA expects high demand for certification services as a result of the change in EU regulations. Exporters are encouraged to plan ahead to arrange for inspections and certification as soon as possible. Per EU requirements, shipments may be inspected up to 30 days before exportation. 

Visit agr.wa.gov/services/exports/inspections for information about obtaining certification, including associated inspection fees.