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NEWS RELEASE: EU approval for UK variety testing

11 August 2011

NIAB has been awarded EU approval for its plant variety DUS testing of a range of agricultural species, as part of a European-wide assessment by the European Union Community Plant Variety Office (CPVO).

For an agricultural variety to be added to a National List and be freely marketed in the UK and EU, it must be tested to show it is distinct, uniform and stable (DUS) and have satisfactory value for cultivation and use (VCU).  For a grant of Plant Breeders’ Rights to be awarded to a variety, it must meet the DUS standards for the species.

DUS tests and VCU trials are carried out at approved centres on behalf of national authorities.  The UK’s testing is coordinated through Fera’s Variety and Seeds Office in Cambridge and the tests are carried out by NIAB, SASA and AFBI Crossnacreevy.  As part of the auditing process, the EU auditors visited Fera Cambridge, NIAB and AFBI Crossnacreevy in Northern Ireland, to assess the level of compliance in adhering to the CPVO Technical Protocols.

“The new directive states that each EU member state’s regulatory and testing body should be regularly assessed to ensure their adherence to the CPVO Technical Protocols and other requirements,” explains Jennifer Wyatt, Certification and Agricultural DUS advisor at NIAB.

“NIAB has a long and successful history in variety evaluation, seed certification, seed testing and supporting the delivery of Plant Variety Rights and Seeds Legislation, so we’re delighted to be awarded with a CPVO Entrustment Certificate for our cereals, oilseed rape, beans and sugar beet programmes.”

CPVO Entrustment Certificates have also been awarded to SASA in Scotland, the UK centre for potatoes, peas, turnip rape, swede and vegetable plant variety testing, and to AFBI Crossnacreevy in Northern Ireland for Lolium species and white clover.

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For further information contact:
Dr John Hutchins, Director of Operations, NIAB
T:            01223 342262
E:            john.hutchins@niab.com

Jennifer Wyatt, Head of Certification and Agricultural DUS, NIAB
T:            01223 342237
E:            jennifer.wyatt@niab.com