Plants and plant products

Importing Plant produce - EU Legislation

Council Directive 2000/29/EC (OJ L169, p1, 10/07/2000 ) of 8 May 2000 on protective measures against the introduction into the Community of organisms harmful to plants or plant products and against their spread within the Community

Extended by

Commission Regulation (EC) No 1756/2004 (OJ L313, p6, 12/10/2004) of 11 October 2004 specifying the detailed conditions for the evidence required and the criteria for the type and level of the reduction of the plant health checks of certain plants, plant products or other objects listed in Part B of Annex V to Council Directive 2000/29/EC

Commission Directive 2004/103/EC (OJ L313, p16, 12/10/2004) of 7 October 2004 on identity and plant health checks of plants, plant products or other objects, listed in Part B of Annex V to Council Directive 2000/29/EC, which may be carried out at a place other than the point of entry into the Community or at a place close by and specifying the conditions related to these checks

National Legislation

European Communities (Control of Organisms Harmful to Plants and Plant Products) Regulations 2004, (S.I. No. 894 of 2004)

Amended by

  • European Communities (Control of Organisms Harmful to Plants and Plant Products) (Amendment) (No. 3) Regulations 2007 (S.I. 777 of 2007

Council Directive 2000/29/EC contains provisions concerning the compulsory plant health checks to be carried out on certain plants and plant products (listed in Annex V Part B) coming from third countries. For the purpose of this Directive plants include living plants and specified living parts thereof, including seeds and are considered to include for example - fruit, in the botanical sense, other than that preserved by deep freezing, vegetables, other than those preserved by deep freezing, cereals.

In general, most plants and some categories of plant produce entering the EU from third countries require a Phytosanitary Certificate (Plant Health Cert), which is issued by the relevant authorities of the exporting country stating that the plants, fruit etc. has undergone official checks and comply with legislative requirements for entry into the EC, are free of all harmful organisms and diseases. Upon entry into the EU the phytosanitary certificate may be replaced by a plant passport (for those imported plants, plant products or other objects which are also listed in Part A of Annex V).

Whilst Council Directive 2000/29/EC requires that every consignment of material listed in Annex V Part B of the Directive must be meticulously inspected on arrival in the Community, Commission Regulation (EC) No. 1756/2004 provides for plant health checks to be carried out at reduced frequency where this can be justified. Certain requirements are taken into consideration such as minimum number of consignments and the minimum number of inspections over the previous 3 years as well as the estimated mobility of a potential harmful organism connected with the plant.

At present a total of 53 products have been recommended for plant health checks at reduced levels. 

Checks carried out at "places of destination"

Commission Directive 2004/103/EC provides for the identity and plant health checks (but not documentary checks) to be carried out at the so-called "places of destination" under certain conditions.

Checks at destination may only be carried out with the agreement of the plant health authorities responsible for the point of entry and the point of destination. The plant health authorities must have previously approved an importer for this purpose. An approved importer must provide certain guarantees in order to be eligible. Consignments moved to a place of destination for identity and plant health checks must be covered by a 'plant health movement document' as specified in the relevant Commission Directive. Such material must be moved to the indicated destination and may only be released after a satisfactory examination has taken place.

Importing plants into Ireland

A licence is required for each shipment of plants/plant products from Third Countries into Ireland . This licence is issued by the Department of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food. If imports occur on a frequent basis then it may be necessary to register as an importer. Further information can be obtained from the Plant Trade Section of the Department of Agriculture, Food and Marine.

Last reviewed: 24/8/2017

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