Plant passport, traceability and other measures against pests when trading with plants and plant products in Sweden and the EU
To prevent and hinder regulated pests from spreading, you need, as a professional working with plants, to ensure that plants and plant products that you move have plant passports and that you document plant movements.
Rules for preventing spread of regulated pests
Increased trade leads to increased risk for new plant pests from other parts of the world being spread with plants and plant products. In the EU we have therefore adopted common rules for trade and movement of plants and plant products. These rules apply to trade and movement of plants between EU Member States and within the countries. When plants are imported from countries outside the EU, there is instead a requirement for a phytosanitary certificate.
The plant passport certifies that plants have been checked for regulated pests by the company that sells or moves the plant.
Enabling traceability is important to be able to take measures if plant pests are detected. Information about how the plant has been moved, together with information from the plant passport enables traceability. This means that plant pests can be detected and outbreaks of plant pests can be managed.
This is a regulated pest
Regulated pests are all kinds of organisms that harm plants, for example, insects, mites, nematodes, fungi, bacteria and virus. The plant protection legislation regulates two categories of pests, referred to as quarantine pests and regulated non-quarantine pests.
Quarantine pests are pests that do not exist in the EU or only to a limited extent and which can have unacceptable environmental, economic or social consequences if they are spread. If quarantine pests are detected in Sweden, they must be managed with the aim of eradicating them. The Swedish Board of Agriculture co-ordinates this management work.
Plans for planting can also carry other pests than quarantine pests. There are rules for certain of these pests as they can have unacceptable economic consequences if they are carried on plants for planting. These pests are referred to as regulated non-quarantine pests.
Pests affect both production of food and feed, forests, parks, gardens and the surrounding landscape, including social and cultural values. All cultivation becomes more expensive and it may be more difficult for plants to survive. There may also be a negative impact on biological diversity. If the number of pests increases, so does the need for pesticides. Moreover, ecological cultivation becomes more difficult, which may further reduce the possibility of biological diversity and a toxic-free environment.
Definition of operators
Rules concerning plant passports and traceability differ depending on the category of plant operator involved in your business.
Professionals in the plant industry
Those who work professionally in businesses with plants, plant products and, for example, planting, production, sale, plant breeding, storage, collection, processing of plants and plant products. Those who are involved in physical sales of plants and plant products to private individuals (final users).
Registered plant professionals
Plant professionals, for example, wholesalers, who move plants in the EU and in Sweden which are required to have a plant passport (B2B). E-commerce companies are also covered by this definition (mail order businesses), which sell both to companies and private individuals (final users).
Plant passport operators
Those registered as professional plant operators who have a permit from the Swedish Board of Agriculture to issue plant passports.
Traceability is needed to be able to exercise management when a regulated pest is detected and to prevent further spread of pests. The rules for traceability apply to those who professionally produce or trade with plants or plant products that require a plant passport. All documentation concerning traceability shall be saved for three years in a way of one’s choice, for example through the regular accounts.
The rules for how traceability is to be complied with differ for different operators.
Professionals in the plant sector
Document the companies from which you receive deliveries of plants and plant products.
Registered plant professionals
Document the companies from which you receive deliveries of plants and plant products and the companies to which you send plants and plant products.
Plant passport operators
Document the companies from which you receive deliveries of plants and plant products and the companies to which you send plants and plant products. Data from the plant passports issued must also be saved for at least three years.
There are no traceability requirements on those who receive and acquire plants and plant products for private or non-commercial use, i.e. for people acting for purposes that fall outside of the person’s business or professional activities.
Register your professional business and apply for a permit to issue plant passports
Those in the category registered plant professional or plant professional must register their activity in our e-service. If you are a plant passport operator and are intending to issue plant passports, you can apply for a permit to issue plant passports in the same e-service.
When is a plant passport required?
Plant passports are required for plant consignments that you
- move to other professional operator
- sell to private individuals through e-commerce and mail orders
- move to areas that are a protected zone for particular pests.
A plant passport is required for
- all plants for planting (i.e. plants intended to remain planted, to be planted or to be replanted for example, plants with roots, bulbs, tubers, scion cuttings and cuttings)
- plants (except fruits and seeds) of Choisya, Citrus, Fortunella, Poncirus and hybrids of these, Casimiroa, Clausena, Murraya, Vepris, Zanthoxylum and Vitis
- certain seeds to be used as seed, see list below
- citrus fruit with stalks and leaves (Citrus, Fortunella, Poncirus and hybrids of these)
- certain varieties of wood, with or without bark, see list below.
The plant passport shall be available at every trading unit and it is up to the issuer of the plant passport to decide the size of the trading unit (for example, pot, seedling tray, sack, cardboard box, plant stand, pallet, container).
Plant passports are not required when hobby gardeners or private individuals move or exchange plants with one another.
The validity of the plant passport
A plant passport is valid as long as the characteristics of the plant or plant product are not changed, and the plant or plant product is not exposed to the risk of being infested by regulated pests.
Requirements for issuing a plant passport
You must comply with these requirements to be authorised to issue plant passports:
- Your business must be registered as a professional business operation.
- Your business must have a permit for issuing plant passports.
- You must have an effective action plan describing measures to be undertaken in the event of suspected or proven presence of pests. The Swedish Board of Agriculture has a template for the action plan which you can use.
- You must have sufficient knowledge on the plant passport rules and the plant inspections you need to make before issuing a plant passport. The Swedish Board of Agriculture has an e-training on plant passports which provides good information.
- You may only issue plant passports for the plants and plant products that your business is responsible for and at the places of production for which you have applied for a permit.
- As the person in charge of the business, you are responsible for the personnel who carry out the inspections having the right expertise, i.e. that they have the required knowledge to investigate that the plants are free from regulated pests.
- You must have the requisite knowledge about best practice, methods and other measures required to hinder the spread of EU quarantine pests. This is a requirement in the permit.
- You must have access to the necessary equipment required to carry out investigations of plants, plant products or other objects concerned.
Register your business and apply for a permit to issue plant passports
You can register your business as a professional operator in our e-service Yrkesmässig produktion och försäljning av plantor och fröer (Professional production and sale of plants and seeds). You can apply in the same e-service for a permit to issue plant passports.
Always enclose e-training certificate and an action plan for the business when applying for a permit to issue plant passports.
E-training on plant passports
The course of training takes approximately one to two hours. You can take this course wherever and whenever you want as long as you have internet access. The training is free of charge and open for all.
We recommend that you participate in the course on a computer or pad with a large screen and that you use the Google Chrome browser.
- Log in with your mobile bank-id or bank-id, and then create an account if you do not already have one.
- Go to the catalogue in the main menu.
- Look for plant passport in the filter or write the word plant passport in the search field and then go to Training in issuing a plant passport.
- Register for the course before beginning it.
- After the final test, you can download your personal certificate, which proves you have successfully completed the course. This is on the first page of the training and is activated when you have completed both the course of training and the final test.
As a new operator, you will receive a registration number which will be e-mailed to you after you have registered your business. You must state the registration number on the plant passport.
A permit to issue plant passports is given per physical place of business. If you have a number of places of business, (with the same registration number), you must register each business location if you need to issue plant passports at these places.
The fee per application for a permit is SEK 1,600.
Update your registration details if there are changes
If you are already registered at the Swedish Board of Agriculture, you need only send a new notification if anything changes in your business, for instance, if you start up a new business or if the area under cultivation changes. Change this at the latest by 30 April of the current year.
If any contact details for your company or place of business change, you must notify us by e-mail at the latest 30 days after the information has changed.
You can de-register the company in the e-service or notify that your permit to issue plant passports shall be terminated.
This is what you must investigate before you issue a plant passport
When you issue a plant passport, you must investigate and ensure that the plants are free from quarantine pests and that the presence of regulated non-quarantine pests does not exceed the set threshold value.
EU quarantine pests
EU quarantine pests are regulated throughout the EU and may not exist on any plants or plant products. Nor may they be brought into Sweden or the EU or risk being spread in Sweden or the EU.
Examples of these are: Xylella fastidiosa, Tomato brown rugose fruit virus (ToBRFV), Liriomyza sativae (vegetable leaf miner), Fusarium circinatum, Agrilus anxius (bronze birch borer), Dendrolimus sibiricus (siberian conifer silk moth), Bursaphelenchus xylophilus (pine wood nematode), Globodera pallida and G. rostochinensis (white and yellow potato cyst nematodes).
Regulated non-quarantine pests (RNQP)
Pests that exist in the EU but which must not be present on certain plants for planting.
Examples of these are: Clavibacter michiganensis spp. michiganensis (bacterial canker of tomato Solanum lycopersicum), Potato spindle tuber viroid PSTVd (on Capsicum annuum, Solanum lycopersicum and Solanum tuberosum - seed potato), Phytophthora fragariae (pink rot on Fragaria), Psylla spp. (psyllids on Cydonia oblonga, Malus and Pyrus).
Quarantine pests for protected zone
Pests which are regulated within designated protected zones. These pests are spread within parts of the EU, but not in the protected zones, where special measures are taken to avoid the spread of these pests.
Sweden is a protected zone for three pests: Bemisia tabaci (silverleaf white fly), Cryphonectria parasitica (chestnut blight on sweet chestnut) and Leptinotarsa decemlineata (Colorado beetle).
Examples of other countries’ quarantine pests for protected zone: Beet necrotic yellow vein virus (BNYVV causes rhizomania) in, among other places Finland and Ireland, Ips typographus (Eight-toothed bark beetle or European spruce bark beetle) in Ireland and Northern Ireland, Erwinia amylovora (causes fire blight) in, among other places, Finland and the Baltic countries.
More about Erwinia amylovora which causes fire blight
Fire blight is a disease caused by the bacterium Erwinia amylovora. The name ”päronpest” (in Swedish) is misleading as the bacterium infests many different species in the Rosaceae family. Pears (Pyrus), hawthorn (Cratægus) and Cotoneaster are the most frequently infested plants. Other plants that the bacterium infests and damages are, for example, apples (Malus), firethorn elytron (Pyracantha), whitebeam (Sorbus aria), japonica (Chænomeles) and quince (Cydonia).
Young growing shoots and flowers are particularly vulnerable to infection. In favourable weather conditions with high temperatures and high humidity, the disease can have a very fast and disastrous course.
The symptoms for fire blight are withered flowers and shoots and ends of shoot which become crook-shaped and coloured dark brown or black. The shoots become damp and leathery with withered leaves and flowers. The bark on infested twigs becomes dark green or brown, and often appears damp. The tissue under the bark is discoloured.
In favourable conditions, the infection can spread to larger branches, which die. If the infection reaches the trunk, it spreads to other branches. When the infection is more widespread in a tree, sore wounds can form on branches and the trunk. The wounds are sunken and can create cracks in the bark. The wood under the sore bark is often displays red-brown discolouration. The bacterium can cause bark dieback, which rapidly leads to the death of an infected tree.
Infested pears often look different depending on when and how they have been infected. In an early infection, the unripe fruit become black, hard and dried out. If the infection takes place when the fruits are large, they often become discoloured in patches and become shrivelled when the fruit pulp is infected.
In warm and damp weather, a yellow-white shiny bacterial slime can be exuded from the infected shoots, the branches and the fruit. The bacterial slime can sometimes extend to long, thin sticky threads or dry to a shiny film.
The symptoms on infected pear trees also generally apply to other host plants but may vary in clarity and extent. One example is firethorn where the disease often only infects the flowers.
Fire blight is spread throughout nearly all of Europe, including Sweden where the disease is present along Skåne’s coastline and in coastal areas up to Gothenburg.
How it spreads
Long-term spreading takes place mostly through trade with plants that are infected but which do not display symptoms, so-called latent infection. Local spreading takes place through the wind, rain splashes and insects when conditions are really favourable for the bacterium. Erwinia amylovora is favoured by high temperature and high humidity.
Hinder spreading of fire blight
You can hinder spreading by removing and burning infected plant material. A long-term measure is to plant varieties of fruit which are less receptive to the disease. There are no effective chemical pesticides at present.
If you are handling infected plant material, good hygiene is important to prevent the risk of spreading. Clean tools carefully and disinfect them with a bactericide. Clean your hands and shoes carefully if you have been in contact with the infection.
Risk of misidentification
Sometimes, infection by fruit tree canker can be caused by the fungus Nanoceria ditissima (syn. Neonectria galligena) being misidentified as fire blight.
Plants which are stressed by, for example, drought can display some symptoms which may be misidentified as fire blight. Young plants or newly planted plants, in particular, are then affected.
If you have a fire blight infection
If you have a nursery and suspect that you have found fire blight, you must contact the Swedish Board of Agriculture.
If you find fire blight in your garden or in the countryside, you only need to contact the Swedish Board of Agriculture if you find the infection within 4 kilometres of a nursery and are in Skåne, Östergötland or Jönköping County.
The list of protected zones in the EU and which pests these apply to is found in Annex III of the Regulation (EU) 2019/2072.
More information about quarantine pests
You can read on our pages about quarantine pests about which pests you must be observant for.
If you notice an infestation of quarantine pests
If you suspect or notice a quarantine pest, you must contact the Swedish Board of Agriculture. You must also directly undertake action to prevent spreading. You must not move the plants or plant products, as this entails a risk of the infection spreading to other plants and companies.
The design of the plant passport
The plant passport shall consist of a distinct label, be visible and legible and durable. The information on the plant passport shall be provided in a square or rectangular form with or without a frame. The information shall be clearly separated from other written information or pictures.
The plant passport shall include the EU flag, the words Plant Passport (or Plant Passport -PZ), and information in accordance with the table below.
|Point in the plant passport||Contents|
|A||The plant’s or plant product’s botanical name (species or family), e.g. Sorbus aria or Pelargonium.|
|B||The country code and the plant passport issuer’s registration number at the Swedish Board of Agriculture, e.g. SE-XXYYYYY.|
|C||The traceability code (for example, lot or order number). There is more information about the traceability code below the table.|
|D||The plant’s or plant product’s country or countries of origin (in or outside the EU) for example, NL, DK, DE, NO or SE.|
The traceability code is mandatory for all plants for planting which are to be further cultivated by another professional operator. If the plants are ready for sale to the end-user, no traceability code is required for most plants. A traceability code is required, however, for the species of plants for planting (except seeds) which are listed below even if they are ready for sale to the end-user:
- Lavandula dentata
- Nerium oleander
- Olea europaea
- Polygala myrtifolia
- Prunus dulcis
- Solanum tuberosum.
Examples of plant passports in addition to the standard model
Plant passport for movement within the EU combined with a certification label
xxxxxxxxxxxxxx = Information for an official label for seed or other propagating material.
Plant passport for seed
Certificate material for fruit and berries
There are pests which are spread in large parts of the EU, but present to a very limited extent or not at all in other parts.
After application to the Commission, an EU Member State can have a particular area declared to be a protected zone.
Plants for planting, certain plant products and certain seeds, which you bring into a protected zone must not carry the pests that the protected zone concerns. The plant passport shall evince that the plants have been approved for being moved to and within the protected zone. The words Plant Passport-PZ and the name of the pest concerned (or the EPPO codes for the pests concerned) shall be stated on the plant passport.
Examples of plant passports for protected zones
Plant passport for bringing into and for movement within a protected zone
xxx = The scientific name of the quarantine pests for the protected zone, or the EPPO code for these pests.
Plant passport for bringing into and for movement within a protected zone, combined with a certification form
Protected zones in Sweden
Sweden is a protected zone for three pests, which are considered as quarantine pests in the protected zone and must be eradicated if detected.
Silverleaf white fly, Bemisia tabaci (European populations)
A protected zone plant passport is required for plants for planting (except seeds) of the plant families/species Ajuga, Begonia, Crossandra, Dipladenia, Euphorbia pulcherrima, Hibiscus, Mandevilla, Nerium oleander.
EPPO code for the pest Bemisia tabaci = BEMITA
Chestnut blight, Cryphonectria parasitica
A protected zone plant passport is required for plants for planting of the plant families/species Castanea (including seeds) and Quercus (except seeds). This is also required for wood (except for bark-free wood) and bark from Castanea.
EPPO code for the pest Cryphonectria parasitica = ENDOPA
The Colorado beetle, Leptinotarsa decemlineata
Only Blekinge, Gotland, Halland, Kalmar and Skåne counties are protected zones for this pest.
EPPO code for the pest Leptinotarsa decemlineata = LPTNDE
Read more about these pests on our pages about quarantine pests.
Inspection of your business
To ensure that all the rules for plant passports and traceability are complied with, the Swedish Board of Agriculture carries out annual inspections. The frequency of inspections will depend on the type of business you have. Companies that produce plants and plant products are inspected more often than those that only sell them.
Companies that have a permit to issue plant passports will be inspected at least once a year. We then check that you comply with the requirements to issue plant passports and that you comply with the rules for traceability.
We inspect companies that do not issue plant passports themselves (registered plant operators) more seldom. Upon inspection we check that the rules on traceability are being complied with.
These inspections are co-ordinated with other checks on certification and production. You can read more about the fees for these checks on the page on trade with plants, plant propagation material and plant products.
Good to know regarding trade
In addition to the rules on plant passports and traceability, you can find other things you need to know when you trade with plants and plant products.
Questions and answers
Do wholesalers who re-pack, split or mix lots need to issue a new plant passport?
If you split and mix lots, you do not need to issue a new plant passport if the plant or plant product you are handling is labelled with a plant passport.
However, you need to issue a new plant passport if the plants or plant products have been exposed to the risk of infection by regulated pests.
How shall mixed consignments, for example on plant stands, be labelled?
A plant stand with mixed consignments may be labelled in two different ways:
- a plant passport with all Betania name on the stand
- several plant passports, one for each smaller unit (seedling tray/pot).
What applies for plants planted together or hanging baskets where the plants originate from different places?
Plants planted together shall be labelled with a plant passport which includes the botanical names of the different species and all countries of origin. Applies to point A and D in the plant passport.
Is it permitted to write perennial mix or green plants on the plant passport?
No, the name of the product may not replace the botanical name on the plant passport.
Is a plant passport required for movement between two locations with the same registration number?
No, a plant passport is not required when you send plants between your own places of business (with the same registration number), provided that the places of businesses are sufficiently close to one another. They are considered to be close if they are located in the same zone:
- Zone 1 – Skåne, Blekinge, Halland, Kronoberg, Kalmar, Gotland, Jönköping, Västra Götaland and Östergötland counties.
- Zone 2 – Värmland, Örebro, Södermanland, Stockholm, Uppsala, Västmanland and Dalarna counties.
- Zone 3 – Gävleborg, Västernorrland and Jämtland counties.
- Zone 4 – Västerbotten and Norrbotten counties.
I have a shop which serves end customers, do my plants have to have a plant passport?
If you primarily target end customers, you can assume that all of your customers are end customers. If a professional operator comes in to your shop, it is up to them to notify that a plant passport is required because of what they are intending to do with the products. The staff at the cash desk do not need to ask customers whether they are professional operators; it is the customer’s responsibility to notify that a plant passport is required.
Is a plant passport required for herbs?
A plant passport is required for those herbs that are sold with the intention of planting or cultivating them, not for herbs in pots which are sold in grocery stores for consumption. This also applies to salad in pots.
Is it possible to copy an original plant passport?
No, plant passports may not be re-used.
Can I obtain an exemption from the requirement for a plant passport for official testing, scientific or educational purposes, experiments, trials, varietal selection or breeding?
Yes, if you wish to move plants, plant products or regulated pests, you can apply for an exemption from the requirement for a plant passport or the prohibition against moving regulated pests. You can obtain an exemption for official testing, scientific or educational purposes, experiments, trials, varietal selection, improvement or training purposes or breeding.
To obtain exemptions you must be able to show that you can handle the product you wish to process. This may, for example, concern the characteristics of the premises where the material is to be processed and how you plan to destroy the material after completing the experiments. The activity shall be performed in a sealed facility which we have designated. You must specify a facility in your application. If you do not do this, you will automatically apply for your place of business to be approved as a temporary containment facility.
We may visit the facility to look at the premises and examine the routines for the planned activities before we grant a permit. We can also inspect your activity when it is in process.
If we grant an exemption, you will receive a document called a letter of authority, which you use when importing the material to the facility and which shall accompany the material to the facility. You will also then receive a permit to process the material at the facility stated in the application. The permit is valid for a set period of time.
When the activity ceases, the material shall be destroyed or kept in a safe way if you plan to continue to use the material. In order to be permitted to continue to process the material, you must make a new application to continue the activity. The new application must be made before the previous permit ceases to apply.
You can apply for an exemption in our e-service. You must apply in advance. The processing time is approximately one month.
Fees for processing and inspections:
- The basic fee for processing an application is SEK 700. If the processing takes longer than an hour, an additional fee of SEK 690 per hour commenced will be applied
- Inspection prior to the decision costs SEK 3,000. If the inspection takes more than an hour, another SEK 690 per hour commenced will be charged
- Inspection of activity costs SEK 3,000. If the inspection takes more than two hours, another SEK 950 per hour commenced will be charged
- Laboratory analysis connected to inspection of the activity will be charged for at the actual cost of transport and analysis.
What areas of the EU are not treated as being in the EU with regard to the plant health rules?
The Canary Islands, Ceuta, Melilla, Guadeloupe, French Guyana, Martinique, Mayotte, Réunion, Saint-Barthélemy and Saint-Martin are treated in the same way as countries outside the EU as regards the plant health rules. If you are going to bring plants or plant products from any of these areas, you will accordingly have to comply with the rules for countries outside the EU.
Which countries outside the EU apply the same plant health rules as an EU Member State?
Switzerland and Liechtenstein have a special agreement with the EU which entails that they comply with the same plant health rules as the EU.
The UK has left the EU. There is, however, a separate agreement that Northern Ireland complies with the same plant health rules as the EU. England, Scotland and Wales are not covered by this agreement and are treated as countries outside the EU.
How is Norway treated for the purpose of plant health rules?
Norway is treated as other countries outside the EU, as the plant health field is not included in the EEA agreement.
What applies to sale of potato plants and pre-sprouting potatoes?
You must comply with these requirements when you sell pre-sprouting potatoes and potato plants:
- the potato tubers that you use to produce pre-sprouting potatoes or potato plants must come from a seed lot which is certified,
- potato plants and pre-sprouting potatoes shall be accompanied by a plant passport in accordance with the standard model for movement within the EU.
Revision date: 2023-03-23