Labs and Trials

Plants and harmful organisms, which originate in exotic places, are often used for research, scientific or educational purposes, for testing in different laboratories, for trials, varietal selections or breeding. For these purposes, institutes, universities and other organisations can get authorisation for exceptional import of regulated material, which is breifly characterised as “scientific import”.

Prior to any introduction into, and movement within EU, holding, multiplication, and use, in the EU of the specified material, which is otherwise banned due to unacceptable plant health risk, an application shall be submitted to the plant health competent authority in the Member State of activities to obtain an authorisation for the activity. An applicant has to provide all required information (Annex I of Regulation (EU) 2019/829), which is to be assessed and approved in case of satisfactory quarantine circumstances, and identified effective methods of safe removal and destruction of specified material after completition of the specified activity.
In case of breeding, trials, or varietal selection of plants for planting, these have to be stored under appropriate quarantine conditions for further use in production of seeds or other plant for planting. In such a case, the applicant has to obtain another approval for release of such plants for planting in accordance with Article 64 of Regulation (EU) 2016/2031.
The derogation from prohibition can be obtained under certain conditions for specified material only, if it is intended to be used for official testing, scientific or educational purposes, trials, varietal selections or breeding in accordance with Regulation (EU) 2016/2031, as applicable with Articles 8(1) for Union quarantine pests, and 48(1) for plants, plant products and other objects.
Besides the authorisation of laboratory, an institute, an operator or any other applicant, who fulfils requirements, the plant health CA may issue for a sample/consignement a Letter of Authority (LoA), which travels with the material and it is signed by both competent authorities. It is also endorsed by the NPPO of the third country of origin of the specified material. LoA can be used for multiple introductions of the material, but it is valid for maximum of one year.
Member States are obliged to report annually to the Commission and other MSs about LoAs and temporary authorisations issued for the specified activities. MSs have to monitor the compliance, and take the actions in case of non-compliance.
The material, for which authorisation may be granted, is specified also by Regulation 2019/829 (also see the scheme):
• plants, plant products and other articles listed in Annexes VI, VII, IX and X of Regulation 2019/2072, or specified as high risk plants either by emergency measures or by Regulation 2018/2019;
• quarantine pests, listed in Annexes II, and III of Regulation 2019/2072, or specified by EU emergency measures.

Scientific import under the New EU Plant Health Regime has been regulated by several legal acts, which are schematically explained above (R stands for Regulation, followed by its year/number; PC stands for Phytosanitary Certificate for import; LoA stands for Letter of Authority; BCP stands for Border Control Post with Plant Health Officers in charge of import controls according to OCR-Official Control Regulation 2017/625 for compliance with PHL-Plant Health Regulation 2016/2031)

The procedure of import control of samples for scientific or official purposes is defined by Implementing Regulation (EU) 2019/2122Article 5 :  Plants, plant products and other objects intended for scientific purposes

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