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Summaries of EU Legislation

Protection against organisms harmful to plants

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Protection against organisms harmful to plants


Council Directive 2000/29/EC on measures to protect the health of EU plants



It aims to protect plants from harmful organisms* (pests and diseases) by both preventing their import into the EU and limiting their spread if they do enter.


Each EU country must establish an authority responsible for plant health and ban the import of organisms and plants which are considered harmful.

The legislation covers living plants and seeds, notably fruit, vegetables, bulbs, cut flowers, branches, cut trees and plant tissue.

Plant producers must be listed in an official register.

Certain plants and plant products grown in the EU must undergo a health inspection on the premises at least once a year.

Plants that satisfy the inspection are given a phytosanitary certificate. They bear an agreed mark (a plant passport). This is essential for plants being transported to another EU country.

Plants which do not satisfy the certificate's conditions are either treated, moved to an area where they pose no risk, sent for industrial processing or destroyed.

National authorities must conduct random checks on plants where they are grown, stored, sold or transported.

National authorities must check certain plants coming from non-EU countries. The inspections cover their packaging and the vehicles transporting the plants.

Imported plants must have a plant passport, issued no more than 14 days before their export. They are also subjected to identity and plant health checks.

Where imported plants do not meet the required standards, they may be treated, placed in quarantine, destroyed or the infected produce removed.

EU countries must notify each other and the European Commission when any harmful organisms are detected and take all necessary measures to destroy them.

In May 2013, the Commission proposed a new EU plant health regulation.


It entered into force on 30 July 2000. EU countries had to incorporate it in national law by 20 January 2002.


Plant health and biosecurity


* Harmful organism: plant or animal pests, such as insects, mites, bacteria, fungi, viruses and parasites.


Council Directive 2000/29/EC 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 (OJ L 169, 10.7.2000, pp. 1–112)

Successive amendments and corrections to Directive 2000/29/EC have been incorporated into the basic text. This consolidated version is for reference only.

last update 29.11.2015