Private certification standards
In its capacity as a certification body, SOC can verify compliance with private certification standards.
Dust Control Plan (PQP) & European Seed Treatment Assurance (ESTA)
Monitoring seed coating can significantly reduce costs and protect workers, consumers, and the environment.
With this concern in mind, professional organisations in the French seed industry pushed for standards for controlling dust during the industrial production; the Dust Control Plan (Plan Qualité Poussières; PQP) was established in 2011.
A quality assurance programme was then generated at the EU level (European Seed Treatment scheme; ESTA). Products that meet PQP or ESTA standards sport the relevant label on their packaging.
Seed companies can ask SOC to certify that they are following PQP or ESTA standards.
The French Ministry of Agriculture recognises that the PQP certification process can be used to attest that operators have sufficient training to safely use pesticides in seed industry (Certiphyto programme). As a certification body, the SOC chose to include the assurance of PQP compliance among its certification specialties. It was accredited to do so by the French Accreditation Committee (Cofrac) in accordance with international standards (as specified in NF EN ISO/CEI 17065). The SOC’s accreditation certificate is available online (www.cofrac.fr/en; File 5-0506).
Good Seed and Plant Practices (GSPP)
The Good Seed and Plant Practices (GSPP) system is an international scheme for managing and preventing plant health risks associated with the bacterium Clavibacter michiganensis michiganensis (Cmm), which infects tomatoes and tomato rootstocks grown in greenhouses/tunnels. In the GSPP system, quality assurance standards and sanitation protocols are extremely strict; they are also the target of independent inspections.
The goal is to limit the risk of Cmm contamination as much as possible along the entire production chain: from the production of pre-commercial tomato seeds to that of commercial tomato seeds, tomato plants, and tomatoes intended for consumption.
The GSPP system has been successful thus far because all of the players in the production chain act to assess and prevent the risk of Cmm contamination by taking preventive actions.
The GSPP certification process has been put into place by 37 companies (tomato seed/plant producers with 86 production sites across 17 countries).