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D- 98-04: Seed Potato Program - Certification of Garden Potato Varieties in Canada

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Effective Date: September 16, 2010
(6th Revision)


This directive covers the requirements for the production of certified garden potato varieties in Canada.

This directive has been revised to update the review date, as well as minor administrative changes. The content of this directive has not changed.

Table of Contents


This directive will be reviewed every three years, unless otherwise needed. For further information or clarification, please contact the Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA).


Approved by:

Chief Plant Health Officer

Amendment Record

Amendments to this directive will be dated and distributed as outlined in the distribution below.


  1. Directive mail list (Regions, PHRA, USDA)
  2. Provincial Government, Industry (determined by Author)
  3. National Industry Organizations (determined by Author)
  4. Internet


Potatoes with unique characteristics such as purple skin, black flesh or frost tolerance often have a limited potential commercial production value, but are of interest to home gardeners and small niche market producers. These garden varieties are also recognized as an important component of the genetic diversity available within cultivated potato varieties. Including garden varieties within the seed certification program allows for the regulation and inspection of these cultivars, thereby making disease-free seed tubers available. Formerly, such garden varieties were grown outside the certification system and therefore may have presented a source of inoculum for potato diseases.

Under Section 65 of Part III of the Seeds Regulations unregistered potato varieties not for commercial production are exempted from the prohibition of sale contained in the Seeds Act. In order to distinguish between what is considered to be commercial and non-commercial production, this directive prescribes production limits within which garden variety seed potatoes remain eligible for certification.

Note: Health Canada sets standards for total glycoalkaloid (TGA) levels for potatoes sold for human consumption. Selling potatoes for consumption which have excess of permitted TGA tolerances is in contravention of Health Canada regulations. The CFIA monitors TGA levels in products sold in the marketplace when deemed necessary on a consumer complaint-driven basis.


This directive is intended for the use of the CFIA inspection staff and seed potato growers to provide clarification on the restrictions placed on the production of certified seed of garden varieties of potato.

This directive supersedes D-98-04 (5th Revision)

Definitions, Abbreviations and Acronyms

Definitions for terms used in the present document can be found in the Plant Health Glossary of Terms.

1.0 General Requirements

1.1 Legislative Authority

The Seeds Act R.S., c. S-7, s.1.
Seeds Regulations C.R.C., c. 1400

1.2 Fees

Under the Seeds Regulations crop inspection fees apply for seed potatoes. Individuals requiring more information on fees may contact local offices of CFIA or visit our Fees Notice Web Site.

2.0 Policy

2.1 Production Requirements

Producers of certified seed potato garden varieties must apply for inspection and certification of that crop pursuant to section 49 of the Seeds Regulations, Part II.

The total production of garden variety seed potatoes on an individual farm unit must not exceed 1.5 ha per class, per variety. If a grower/ farm unit expands production beyond that level, the variety will be considered a commercial crop and be subject to registration requirements. This restriction may be enforced by rejecting any application for crop inspection on which the acceptable area of production is exceeded. The 1.5 ha restriction is not applicable to certified garden variety seed potatoes produced for the purpose of export.

Seed potatoes produced from these varieties must continue to meet all other relevant requirements under the Seeds Regulations Part II, including tuber grading.

2.2 Packaging Requirements

For packaging seed potatoes in containers less than 20 kg, a valid Permit Relating to Packing of Seed Potatoes (CFIA/ACIA 1347) is required. Labelling requirements for containers containing seed potatoes are stated on the permit. The permit is issued by a CFIA inspector and is valid for a period of one year.

2.3 Additional Requirements

In order to be eligible for certification, garden variety seed potatoes must be produced in compliance with regulatory requirements for Bacterial Ring Rot testing as per the Seeds Regulations Part II. Further information regarding Bacterial Ring Rot testing requirements is provided in policy directive D-97-12, Seed Potato Certification Program - Bacterial Ring Rot Testing Program for Field Grown Seed Potatoes.

Requirements for the import of seed potatoes of garden varieties are included in policy directive D-98-01, Import Requirements for Seed Potatoes and other Propagative Material.

3.0 Appendices

Appendix 1: List of Garden Varieties

Garden Varieties

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