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Trade with soil and fertiliser

There are rules you must follow when trading with soil, growing media, fertilisers and lime. Some rules apply also when you are moving agricultural and forestry machinery between Sweden and other countries, as soil may be brought along with the transport. If you are labelling fertilisers, soil improvers, or nutrients for organic production, there are further rules that you must follow.

Fertilisers refers to chemical fertilisers and other manufactured fertilisers, which may include various types of organic material such as manure or processed by‑products from the food-processing industry.

Trade with fertilisers and soil products which contain animal products or manure

Organic fertilisers and soil products may contain products produced from animal by‑products, such as composted or digested manure and bone meal. If you trade with these products, you must follow the rules that apply to animal by‑products. Organic fertilisers, soil improvers and soil products shall in many cases be traceable all the way to the end user. This means that every step in the chain must register its establish­ment to the Swedish Board of Agriculture, including distributors and resellers.

If you distribute or sell soil, organic fertilisers or soil improvers which contain animal products, you also need to read the page on Soil products and fertilisers with animal contents.

Activities that do not need to be registered with the Swedish Board of Agriculture

You do not need to register your activities with the Swedish Board of Agriculture if you only receive and distribute organic fertilisers and soil products which are already packaged for consumers, and where the weight of the packages does not exceed 50 kilograms. They shall be intended for use outside the feed and food products chain, such as use by home­owners or growers of ornamental plants, or on golf courses.

Those who are producing soil for their own use, using natural manure, their own compost or consumer-packaged products, do not need to register their establishment.

Trade with chemical fertilisers or lime

Maximum content of cadmium in fertilisers

The marketing of fertilisers containing more than 100 grams of cadmium per tonne of phosphorus is prohibited. More information about this can be found on the website of the Swedish Chemicals Agency.

Register with the Swedish Chemicals Agency's product register

If you produce or bring in chemical fertilisers and lime to Sweden, you shall register this with the Swedish Chemicals Agency’s product register. For some products, there are require­ments pertaining to a chemicals fee, classification, labelling and safety data sheets. More information about this can be found on the website of the Swedish Chemicals Agency.

EU fertilising products

It is possible to affix the "CE" marking to fertilising products. The procedure is regulated in the Fertilising Products Regulation (EU) 2019/1009.

In order to label a fertilising product as EU fertiliser with CE marking, it must meet specific criteria. The product must, among other things, meet the labelling requirements of the Fertilising Products Regulation.

You can read more in the European Commission's FAQ.

The Swedish Chemicals Agency is responsible for the market surveillance of EU fertilising products. See the Swedish Chemicals Agency's website for more information.

Preparations comprising micro-organisms

The Swedish Board of Agriculture has no specific rules for preparations containing living micro-organisms, such as those used to improve composting or increase biological activity in the soil. It is, however, always important that you ensure that any product you are using or trading with does not include any quarantine pests. Quarantine pests are plant pests which have not yet spread within the EU and which may have unacceptable environ­mental, financial or social consequences if they do spread.

The product may also be subject to rules determined by the Swedish Chemicals Agency. Contact them for more information.

Moving agricultural and forestry machinery between Sweden and other countries

Operated agricultural and forestry machinery may carry quarantine pests when they are moved. For that reason, equipment and machinery should be cleaned of soil and plant residues prior to moving them. The best practice is to use a high-pressure washer to clean the equipment. When moving equipment to or from the EU, there are further considerations beyond cleaning that you should bear in mind.

Exporting to countries outside the EU

If you export machinery, you are responsible for informing yourself of which import requirements apply in the recipient country. In the first instance, contact the importer in the recipient country. If the importer is not aware of the regulations, ask them to contact their plant protection authority or, possibly, their customs authority.

Moving machinery to Norway

Most questions we receive concerning movement of agricultural and forestry machinery relate to Norway.

Once you have cleaned the machine or the tool, you must, depending on the type of machine or equipment in question, contact the import and export unit at the Swedish Board of Agriculture or your nearest district veterinarian office.

For export of agricultural machinery, agricultural tools and agricultural equipment, please visit the website of the District Veterinarians and contact your nearest office to book an inspection.

For export of machinery and tools used in forestry and horticulture, contact the import and export unit at the Swedish Board of Agriculture to book an inspection.

 The inspector or district veterinarian will make an inspection of the machine.

If the cleaning requirements are met, they will issue a certificate stating that the machine has been cleaned. This is subject to a fee. The certificate shall then accompany the machine through customs to Norway.

Importing from countries outside the EU

When moving operated vehicles, machines and packaging material from countries outside the EU, they shall be free of quarantine pests. Quarantine pests are plant pests which have not yet spread within the EU and which may have unacceptable environmental, financial or social consequences if they do spread. You should therefore clean them of soil and plant residues. In most cases, no particular certificate is required. However, when importing certain operated agricultural and forestry machinery, a phytosanitary certificate is required from the plant protection organisation in the country from which you are importing. Phytosanitary certificates are documents showing that the machines are free from quarantine pests.

You need to pre-notify the import

You must notify the Swedish Board of Agriculture of the import in our e-service. You must notify us of the import at the latest at 1 p.m. one business day prior to the import.

When you have registered the import in Traces NT, you will receive an ID number, like CHEDPP.SE.2023.0000123.

At the border

When the machine arrives at the border, you shall notify the Swedish Customs and state the ID number from Traces NT. You shall also provide the original phytosanitary certificate to the Swedish Customs. The Swedish Board of Agriculture will check the phytosanitary certificate, and in some cases, we will also inspect the machine itself. Checks are carried out on business days between 8 a.m. and 3.30 p.m. If the consignment is approved, your machine will then be allowed to cross the border.

You will need to pay a fee for the check of SEK 1 000 at a minimum, and SEK 2 000 at a maximum, depending on the weight of the machine.

Imports of machinery from Norway

Most questions we receive relating to imports of agricultural and forestry machinery relate to Norway. The requirements for cleaning, import notification and phytosanitary certificates also apply to Norway. These requirements apply also if the machine is in transit to another EU Member State.

All plant health checks of used machinery is performed directly at the Swedish border, even if there is a customs transit procedure to another EU Member State. This is because it is difficult to ensure that all transports are appropriately sealed for safe phytosantiary transit.

In the case of Norway, please contact the Norwegian Food Safety Authority for the phytosanitary certificate.

Movements of machinery within Sweden and the EU

When moving vehicles, machinery and packaging material within Sweden and the EU, they must be free from quarantine pests. Quarantine pests are plant pests which have not yet spread within the EU and which may have unacceptable environmental, financial or social consequences if they do spread. You should therefore clean them of soil and plant residues. No particular certificate is required.

Trade with soil and growing media

Trade with soil and growing media within the EU

For trade within the EU, no particular plant health rules apply when trading with soil or growing media. You are thus allowed to bring into and sell to another EU Member State, and no specific certificate is required to certify that the soil or the growing medium is free of plant pests. Bear in mind, however, to be attentive to any outbreaks anywhere, so that you do not take the risk of spreading quarantine pests. It is your responsibility to ensure that the soil does not contain any quarantine pests. Quarantine pests are plant pests which have not yet spread within the EU and which may have unacceptable environmental, financial or social consequences if they do spread.

Export of soil or growing media to countries outside the EU

If you are selling soil or growing media to a country outside the EU, you need to find out what rules apply in the country to which you are exporting. In the first instance, contact the importer in the receiving country. If the importer is not familiar with the rules, ask them to contact the plant protection organisation in their country, alternatively the customs in that country.

The recipient country may require that there be a so-called phyto­sanitary certificate for the consignment. This is a document certifying that the consignment meets the require­ments of the recipient country concerning plant health when importing. Phyto­sanitary certificates for consignments are issued by the Swedish Board of Agriculture’s import and export control unit. Before we can issue the phyto­sanitary certificate, we will inspect the soil or the growing medium.

Phytosanitary certificates and other measures against plant pests

Import of soil or growing media from countries outside the EU

The purpose of the rules is to prevent the spread of quarantine pests. Quarantine pests are plant pests which have not yet spread within the EU and which may have unacceptable social, environ­mental, or financial consequences if they do spread.

This applies when importing soil or growing media:

  • It is prohibited to bring in soil and other growing media, which partly consist of solid organic substances, from any country outside the EU. The only exception to this is Switzerland and Liechtenstein, from which you may import such products.
  • Exceptions to the ban are pure peat and pure coconut fibre, which have not previously been used for growing plants or for agricultural purposes. You may import these from any country. You also do not need a phytosanitary certificate showing that the peat or the coconut fibres are free from quarantine pests.

If you bring in plants from a country outside the EU, soil and other growing media may be brought along with the plants. The plant protection organisation of the exporting country shall certify by means of a phyto­sanitary certificate that the EU require­ments for the plants and the soil are met.

You can apply for an exemption from the import ban for scientific and certain other purposes

You can apply to the Swedish Board of Agriculture for an exemption from the ban on importing soil or growing media, if the import has an educational, experimental or scientific purpose. Read more about the requirements that apply to you and how to apply via the link below.

Soil can spread invasive alien species

An invasive alien species is a species that has not previously been found in Sweden, which could be brought here by people and which may crowd out native species. Moving soil entails a risk that these species spread. Invasive alien species are not quarantine pests; instead, other rules apply to these. Contact the Swedish Environmental Protection Agency for information.

Trade with fertilisers, soil improvers and nutrients for organic production

Fertilisers, soil improvers or nutrients that comply with the requirements of the EU regulations on organic production may be labelled with the text ‘Tillåten att använda i ekologisk produktion'.

Questions and answers

What rules apply when selling composted or fermented food waste as fertiliser for organic production?

In order for the end product derived from composted or fermented food waste to be sold as fertiliser for organic production, the collection system for the food waste must be approved by the Swedish Board of Agriculture.

What rules apply to trading with sludge?

Contact the Swedish Environmental Protection Agency for information.