Certification framework and objectives

The official potato seedling certification has two purposes: to guarantee the quality of the potato seedlings for the users and to promote the spread of genetic progress.

Certified seedling production process

The production of certified seedlings is a process that lasts from 8 to 10 years. It starts with an in vitro reproduction stage, followed by one greenhouse reproduction generation, then 6 to 8 field reproduction generations.

Throughout this process, the requirements defined in the general technical regulations for the production and control of certified seeds and potato seedlings must be met. Along with the annexed technical regulations for potato seedlings, approved by the Ministry of Agriculture. These regulations, which set the framework for French production, result from the implementation of European Union rules and minimum standards (Marketing Directives 2002/56/EC, 2014/20/EU and 2021/21/EU). But also from international recommendations (United Nations Economic Commission for Europe standard S-1), and from stricter requirements that the French industry wants to adopt, to achieve the highest quality.

Along with certification, potato seedlings must meet the plant passport requirements, defined in the European Regulation (EU) 2016/2031, on protective measures against harmful plant pests.

Potato seedlings are controlled and certified by the Official Quality and Control Department (SOCFrance). They primarily focus on the following two important criteria: varietal identity and sanitary condition.

Varietal identity

In France, only seedlings from varieties listed in the national catalog or European catalog can be produced and certified. The control of the varietal identity is therefore mandatory, as well as compliance with purity standards. The analyses are made from the very beginning, before in vitro reproduction, then, during the following reproduction generations (in the field and on the following generations). In addition, producers must observe strict isolation and batch identification rules.

Sanitary condition

The sanitary condition is the other main aspect of potato seedling inspection for their certification and issuing their phytosanitary passport.

France has a favorable pedoclimatic situation to produce quality potato seedlings. Several regions, with a cool and humid climate, benefit from a renowned sanitary advantage (healthy soils and environment). Vast open spaces and long crop rotations make it possible to preserve this sanitary edge.
In addition to this geographical advantage, the seedling crops comply with very strict production rules to maintain their good sanitary condition. They must:

  • comply with the production breeding process which requires, among other things, the use of in vitro culture source plant material and a limited number of field generations.
  • undergo, at every step of the reproduction process, inspections for potato pests.

These pests are classified into two categories:

  • Tolerated organisms: quality pests and regulated non-quarantine pests (ORNQ);
  • Non-tolerated organisms: quarantine pests (ONQ)

The descriptive information files on diseases and pests are available in the “Diseases and pests” section

Access files

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Discover the multi-year seedling production plan


Explore the inspection and certification process


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