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.