The SeedGuard certification is a voluntary system that supports quality assurance within companies in the seed industry. The certification system was developed by SeedGuard Gesellschaft für Saatgutqualität mbH (SeedGuard), an organisation founded in 2011 by various associations from within the industry. The certification focuses on encouraging the environmentally-friendly and safe treatment of seeds. The criteria and requirements that a certified company must meet are defined by the SeedGuard committee. Recognised and accredited certification bodies are required in order to implement the system.
The push for an improvement in environmental and health safety in the handling of seeds came about in particular in 2008 at the time of the destruction of thousands of bee colonies. An insecticide used in the treatment of seeds was found to be responsible for these bee deaths. The active substance got into the bees' food chain in the form of dust particles from the treatment agent. As a result, legislation was tightened, in particular by EU Directive 2010/21. This Directive aims to minimise the risk of future accidents. It states in particular that treatment agents may only be applied to seeds in professional treatment facilities and using equipment that meets the state of the art to minimise the release of dust particles during the handling of the treated seeds.
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Currently, companies in the seed industry can be certified for rapeseed, corn, sugar beet and grain. There are plans to expand the scope of certification in the future. Certification for other types of crop is currently being developed.
The testing principles are outlined in the system documents developed by SeedGuard. These are freely available and are categorised into general system principles, system principles for neutral controls, sanction system, characteristics of the quality mark, schedule of fees and crop type-specific system principles. The documents are available to download here in their current version.
The path for using the quality mark
- Registration on the SeedGuard website
- Issue of system contract by SeedGuard
- Contact made with DIN CERTCO
- Offer drawn up by DIN CERTCO (if required by customer)
- Submission of application by the customer
- Approved auditor assigned by DIN CERTCO
- Agreement of audit date and audit carried out
- Issue of certificate after a positive assessment of the audit report
Overlaps in content between the SeedGuard certification and the Seed Quality Assurance System (QSS) provide the opportunity for combination audits. This can save cost.
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