AS THE final details for the potato industry’s ring rot Safe Haven Certification Scheme are finalised and sent to growers, the British Potato Council has produced an outline of the basic standards required for accreditation (see below).

Growers will be audited on their ring rot prevention procedures – a series of practical and straightforward standards known to prevent the disease from spreading.

Below is an outline of the standards you have to meet: [CFP: Critical Failure Point]

1. Introduction
Following a systematic approach will help members to avoid and manage the risks associated with bacterial ring rot of potato. Where the term ‘production unit’ is used below this refers to a business rather than to a physical unit of land. Where a business uses rented land for seed potato production this will be eligible for the Scheme provided all the standards are met.

Random samples of seed and ware production from production units will be collected by the appropriate plant health authority for official testing as part of the annual ring rot surveys performed in accordance with Directive 93/85/EEC. Sampling rates will be at least equivalent to those on non-accredited production units as laid down by the relevant plant health authority.

The following standards are based on a typical seed potato production process.

Ware crops grown on a safe haven accredited unit do not require to be entered in the seed potato classification scheme, but will otherwise be subject to all the same standards as detailed below for seed production.

2. Seed stocks
2.1 Producers must enter all seed potato crops in the seed potato classification scheme of the relevant UK authority and allow details of all these crops to be published in the official seed register. In the first year only and provided standard 2.3 can still be met entry in the register will not be necessary. (CFP)

2.2 All seed for seed multiplication must be from classified seed derived in a direct line (i.e. without further clonal selection) from ring rot tested nuclear stock or quarantine tested in-vitro plant material. Seed produced from true potato seed will also be acceptable. (CFP)

2.3 All seed potatoes planted on a production unit must originate from the unit itself or must be traceable to another accredited production unit. In the first two years of the Scheme seed potato producers must be able to demonstrate traceability of all seed stocks on a production unit in a direct line (i.e. without further clonal selection) from ring rot tested nuclear stock, quarantine tested in-vitro plant material or true potato seed. (CFP)

2.4 Full records of the multiplication history of each seed stock grown on the production unit must be maintained for 3 years. (CFP)

2.5 Cutting of seed for seed production is not permitted. (CFP)

3. Transport and storage
3.1 Seed tubers must only be stored or transported in boxes or containers that:

  • Have never been used for potatoes produced outside the accredited production unit; (where boxes are to be sent to a packer or other outside production unit written assurance should be obtained that these boxes will not be used for handling any other potatoes before being returned).
  • Or, have been thoroughly cleaned and disinfected before use.

Where transport is to be in bulk or in boxes from outside the accredited unit a record of inspection for each load must be retained. (CFP)[Disinfectants with proven activity against ring rot bacterium in the presence of other organic material should be used]

3.2 It is strongly recommended that seed transport from an accredited unit should be in non-returnable containers.

3.3 Producers should visually inspect boxes/ bulkers before loading. Any boxes/bulkers not meeting the required standard of cleanliness must not be loaded.

3.4 Where bulk transport is used, producers should ask the haulage contractor for details of the previous three loads carried by the vehicle. These details should be recorded.

3.5 Non-accredited seed or ware potatoes must not be handled or stored on accredited production units. (CFP)

3.6 Accredited seed potatoes must not be handled or stored on a non-accredited production unit. (CFP)

4. Machinery
4.1 Contracted or other machinery that has physical contact with the seed or daughter crop (including harvesters, planters, trailers etc) and that has been used on any other production unit must be thoroughly cleaned and disinfected before entry and use on the production unit. Records of cleaning and disinfection must be retained. (CFP)

4.2 If machinery/equipment is shared between producers it must be cleaned and disinfected before being moved to any other unit. Records of the shared crop equipment use and its cleaning must be available. (CFP)

4.3 Grading facilities on an accredited production unit must not be used to handle seed or ware potatoes from non-accredited seed or ware production units. (CFP)

4.4 Grading facilities on non-accredited production units must not be used to handle seed potatoes from accredited production units if the seed potatoes are to be returned to accredited production units. (CFP)

5. Cleaning records
5.1 Cleaning records that must be retained are as follows: –

  • Name/identification of equipment;
  • Date of cleaning operation(s)
  • Disinfectant used;
  • Stock number of seed lots involved (CFP)

6. Contractors’ obligations
6.1 When contractors are used on an accredited unit there must be a separate record of each potato operation. The record must include:

  • Date
  • Operation
  • Contractor name
  • Confirmation/description of disinfection procedure including name of operator. (CFP)

6.2 Members must ensure that any contractors undertaking work on the production of crops covered by the Safe Haven Scheme adhere to the scheme protocols. (CFP)
[To enable members to make their instructions clear, the Assured Produce contractor’s Commitment Document can be used]

7. Use of the logo
7.1 The Safe Haven Certification Scheme Logo must only be used on packaging, stationery and trade documentation by a grower who is certified under the Safe Haven Certification Scheme. (CFP)

7.2 Records must be kept of the packing of certified material and if a packing site handles certified seed potatoes from more than one source records must be kept to allow traceability from final pack to supplier. (CFP)

7.3 The scheme logo must always be reproduced in accordance with the guidelines in Appendix 3 of this standard. (CFP)

Who to contact:

CMi Certification (Julian Bott)
01993 885 600

Scottish Food Quality Certification (Tina Swann)
0131 335 6600

PAI (Ian Burton)
0845 226 5404

EFSIS (Marcus Wood)
0870 241 6787

National Britannia Certification (Teresa Bradley)
02920 808 525