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FAQ's

Q: I am a private individual travelling home from abroad (non-EU country) and I wish to bring cut flowers home from a third country (non-EU) what do I need to do?

A: All regulated plants and plant products travelling into the EU from third countries require a Phytosanitary certificate.  There are many thousands of species of cut flowers, some are regulated others are not.

Q: How do I establish if the product I wish to import from outside Europe is regulated?

A: Annex V part B of the EU Plant Health Directive 2000/29 summarises what plants and plant products are regulated.  To establish if the plant or plant product is regulated click here.  If you cannot find the plant or plant product in question and have any further queries email plantandpests@agriculture.gov.ie

Q: What is a Phytosanitary Certificate?               

A: A Phytosanitary Certificate is a legal document issued by the NPPO (National Plant Protection Organisation) of the country of export for goods and commercial consignments of plant origin certifying that they are free from certain / specified harmful and quarantine pests and diseases. Click here to see an example of a Phytosanitary Certificate.

Q: When should a Phytosanitary Certificate be required?

A: Importing Countries should only require phytosanitary certificates for regulated articles. These include commodities such as plants, bulbs and tubers, or seeds for propagation, fruits and vegetables, cut flowers and branches, grain, and growing medium.

Q: In what other circumstances can Phytosanitary Certificates be issued?

A: Phytosanitary certificates may also be issued for certain plant products that have been processed, where such products, by their nature or that of their processing, have a potential for introducing regulated pests (e.g. wood, cotton). A phytosanitary certificate may also be required for other regulated articles where phytosanitary measures are technically justified (e.g. empty containers, vehicles, and organisms).

Q: What circumstances should a Phytosanitary Certificate not be required?

A: Under ISPM 12 (International Standards for Phytosanitary Measures) , importing countries should not require phytosanitary certificates for plant products that have been processed in such a way that they have no potential for introducing regulated pests.

Q: If the product I wish to import into the EU is regulated, how do I establish what the additional declarations should be added to the phytosanitary certificate?

A: A summary document on how to establish additional declarations for regulated plants and plant products can be accessed here. (link to follow)

Q: What is a third country?

A: A third country is referred to in EU treaties as a country that is not a member of the European Union. 

Q: I wish to privately or commercially import regulated plants and plant products into Ireland from a third country and I want to get a Phytosanitary certificate from the NPPO of the country of origin for these products.  Who do I contact?

A: Contact the competent authority or NPPO (National Plant Protection Organisation) of the country of origin of the goods? A link to contact details for all NPPOs can be found here.  Alternatively your seller in the country of origin can arrange this locally with the competent authority.

Q: After bringing home a plant from abroad I noted unusual occurrence of harmful organisms (pests or diseases) on my plant. Who do I contact?

A: Immediately contact the Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine at email address plantandpests@agriculture.gov.ie   or by telephone 01-5058885.

Q: I’m moving home to Ireland from Europe after having lived there for the past 20 years and I would like to bring my favourite garden plants with me.  What do I need to do to ensure the plants are not confiscated for not complying with plant health regulations?

A: Non-commercial movement of plants within Europe is allowed so there will be no checks at the border.

Q: Every year I travel abroad to a country outside Europe to collect rare specimens of plants to bring home and propagate?  I do not obtain a Phytosanitary certificate from the country of origin of the specimen plants.  Am I breaking the law?

A: Yes, all plants for planting from third countries require a phytosanitary certificate from the country of origin.  A person found to have uncertified plants from third countries in their possession is in contravention of National and EU Plant Health legislation is potentially guilty of an offence and liable on conviction to a fine not exceeding €3,000 and to a term of imprisonment not exceeding six months or to both.

If you wish to bring home plants from outside Europe you must contact the NPPO (National Plant Protection Organisation) of the country of origin of the plants to arrange a phytosanitary certificate.  Contact details can be found here.  You are also obliged to notify the Department of Agriculture, Food & the Marine, details can be found here.

Q: I’m leaving Ireland to take up a new job in another European member state for a new job and I wish to bring my favourite plants with me. Is this Ok?

A: Non-commercial movement of plants within Europe is allowed so there will be no checks at the border.

Q: I want to export plants commercially to a country outside the EU?

A: Information on what you need to do can be found on the Departments webpage here .

Q: I want to bring a personal quantity of plants or plant products to a country outside the EU.  What do I do?

A: There is no special allowance for personal quantities of plants and plant products to be brought into a country outside the EU.  If you wish to do this you should follow the same procedures for commercial produce on the REGISTRATION & PROCEDURES FOR EXPORT link on the DAFM’s webpage here

Q: I started to grow my own fruit / vegetables to sell commercially at a local farmers market and local grocery stores. Do I need to register with the Department of Agriculture, Food & the Marine?

A: Yes, all FBO’s (Food Business Operators) engaged in the primary production of fruit or vegetables are obliged to register with the Department and comply with EU Food Hygiene Legislation.  Information on your legal obligations and how to register can be found here.

Q: I started to grow my own plants for commercial production and sale to other nurseries and garden centres.  Do I need to register with the Department of Agriculture, Food & the Marine?

A: Yes, you must register with the Department. Details of procedures and how to register can be found here.

Q: What is a Plant Passport?

A: A Plant Passport is an official label issued by a producer that has been authorised by the competent authority or NPPO (National Plant Protection Organisation). The Plant Passport is evidence that the provisions of the EU Directives relating to plant health standards and special requirements are satisfied and which are:

Standardised at Community level for different types of plants or plant products, and issued in accordance with the implementing rules governing the details of the procedure for issuing plant passports.

Plant Passports enable the producer to move plants within the EU subject to protected zone requirements.  For full details on a plant passport please click here.

Q: What does a Plant Passport look like? And where do i find it?

A: Typically a Plant Passport can be attached to the plant in the format below or referenced in the documentation associated with the consignment i.e. the invoice or the delivery docket.

Added 01.02.19

Q: What is a protected zone?

A: A zone in the Community, which has been recognised by the EU as being: One in which one or more harmful organisms referred to in the Plant Health Directive, which are established in one or more parts of the Community, do not occur despite favourable ecological conditions for them to establish.  In which there is danger that certain harmful organisms will establish themselves, given propitious ecological conditions, for particular crops despite the fact that these harmful organisms are not endemic or established in the European Community.