seed exchange and phytosanitary certificate

Barry M. OConnor bmoc at UMICH.EDU
Sun Mar 16 10:36:32 CST 1997

Hi Ron - I don't know if you subscribe to Taxacom, but thought this might
be up your alley. - Barry

At 8:39 AM 3/15/97, Mike Jefferies wrote:
>Addressed to: Elaine Chittenden <chitt at GNDS.MSU.EDU>
>              Multiple recipients of list TAXACOM <TAXACOM at CMSA.BERKELEY.EDU>
>** Reply to note from Elaine Chittenden <chitt at GNDS.MSU.EDU>         Thu,
>13 Mar
> 1997 09:48:49 +0500
>As a person formerly in charge of Plant Quarantine operations in
>Australia I might comment on what we tried to do in this area.
>> What is your practise regarding obtaining phytosanitary certificates?
>> Right now our practise is if a phytosan is requested by the institution
>> ordering seed we will contact Michigan Department of Ag. to get an
>> inspector to issue one, otherwise we do not check into this.
>> We recently received a request from Canada for Pinus seed (from our
>> Index Seminum) and they notified us of their need for a phytosan. cert.
>> to get the Pinus through customs. We pay for this (approx. $17.00 this
>> time) and plan to send the paid invoice to the recipient for
>> reimbursement.
>I agree it is the respponsibility of the person wishing to import to find
>out what his/her country's requirements are for the seed (or whatever) to
>be imported and then request the supplier to obtain the relevant
>certification from the official plant protection service of the exporting
>country. (Payment is a matter of agreement between buyer and seller!)
>> A USDA person suggested I consider reviewing this whole topic with a
>> local Michigan Dept. of Ag person to ascertain which countries might
>> need a phytosan. for which species. It sounds as though a Pandora's Box
>> issue could arise so I hope others can share their experiences with
>> obtaining phytosanitary certificates. Whose responsibility is it to
>> know whether or not a phytosan. is required? Is the above practise that
>> Beal Garden uses appropriate? I think it is the responsibility of the
>> requestor, any comments would be most appreciated.
>We, as certifying authorities would check that the conditions requested
>were those of the receiving country and then issue the certificate if
>those conditions could be met!!!!  In some cases they couldn't and there
>was nothing to stop someone exporting seed without a certificate and the
>importing country then has to decide what to do (if they find out,
>another problem).
>If the conditions were different from our understanding of the importing
>country requirements, we would check with that country first.  What the
>USDA are saying, I think, is that people often ask for certificates when
>the importing countyr doesn't want one as some buyers have the idea that
>it provides better *quality* or freedom from diseases.  This is not the
>case as the expoting country can only apply the requirements of the
>importing country as understood; that is their obligation under the IPPC.
>Having said that the complexities of real life make it easy for
>quatantine authorities to be abused by both those who want goods more
>easily and those who want more restrictions on imports.  Not to mention
>those who find they will not get paid unless they get a certificate they
>don't actually need!
>I could go on but this is probably not the place
>Mike Jefferies; Consulting in Entomology and Quarantine
>Using OS/2Warp4 and VoiceType
>+61 6 2864033; mjefferi at or CompuServe 100035,374

Barry M. OConnor                phone: (313) 763-4354
Museum of Zoology               FAX: (313) 763-4080
University of Michigan          e-mail: bmoc at
Ann Arbor, MI 48109-1079  USA

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