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PI-005: Chapter 5 - Seed Potato Crop Inspection
4.0 Application for Seed Potato Crop Inspection

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Except for the production of Nuclear Stock class seed potatoes, the form Application for Seed Potato Crop Inspection - Grower's Declaration (CFIA/ACIA 1317) (Appendix 1) must be completed and submitted to a CFIA office by the grower along with all supporting documents on, or before June 30.

An application for seed potato crop inspection may be made after June 30 only if the CFIA inspector, in consultation with the Supervisor and/or the Regional Program Officer (RPO), determines that there is still time to carry out inspection in accordance with the Seeds Regulations Part II and the grower shows that the delay in submitting the application was beyond her/his control.

For the production of Nuclear Stock class seed potatoes refer to Chapter 6 of PI-005, and D-97-08: Production, Maintenance, Multiplication and Certification of Nuclear Stock Seed Potatoes.

For every potato crop being grown on the farm unit, including all potato crops not entered for certification, the following information must be provided on the application:

The grower, by signing the application, declares that:

The following documentation, where applicable, must be provided by the grower to support the application:

The inspector must review the application, clarify and address missing or erroneous information, and then either approve or decline the application before initiating and crop inspection.

In some cases, if additional documentation or information is required to support the application, the inspector may request and review them on the grower's premises prior to conducting the initial inspection. Any changes made on the application form must be noted, dated and initialed by both the grower and the inspector before the crop inspection process is initiated.

Any discrepancy questioned by an inspector over acceptance of an application, should be referred to a CFIA inspection supervisor and/or the Regional Program Officer (RPO). Once an application for crop inspection is finalized by an inspector, the application should be reviewed and approved by a CFIA supervisor and/or Regional Program Officer. A copy of the application must then be provided to the inspector assigned to that particular farm unit. The inspector or office staff will then proceed with the entry of the information contained on the application into the seed potato portion of the Multi Commodity Activity Program (MCAP) database.

A hardcopy file should be created (if not already in place) for each and every grower applying for seed potato crop inspection. All related documents should be kept in these files for further review if and when necessary. Documents should include;

The minimum retention period for seed potato documents is 10 years.

4.1 Certification Number

For a new grower, once the application is approved, a farm unit identification number (also referred to as a grower number) is issued by a CFIA representative. Existing seed growers maintain their identification numbers from year to year. Each field entered for certification is given a unique identification number which is used for tracking purposes throughout the certification process.

A certification number is made up of 14 digits representing specific crop year, province, district, farm unit and field. The number is assigned to a seed lot which, at the completion of the crop inspection process has been determined to meet all regulatory requirements.

For example, if a certification number was 2011-3041187-001, it would represent the following information:

  • Crop year - 2011
  • Province - 3 (NB)
  • District - 04
  • Farm unit - 1187
  • Field – 001

In this case, 3041187 is the farm unit number for this farm unit.

Note: Provinces are designated as follows; 0 - Newfoundland and Labrador, 1- Prince Edward Island, 2 - Nova Scotia, 3 - New Brunswick, 4 - Quebec, 5 – Ontario, 6 – Manitoba, 7 – Saskatchewan, 8 – Alberta, 9 – British Columbia.

4.2 Existing Seed Growers

It is important to know the history of a farm unit. The status of the farm unit is established by reviewing the application, (CFIA/ACIA 1317). A grower who submitted an application and was approved for crop inspection in the previous year can be considered an existing seed grower as long as:

  • All fees have been paid in accordance with the provision described in D-95-13;
  • The application for inspection has been completed in accordance with section 49 of the Seeds Regulations Part II;
  • the inspector was able to review the grower's declaration on the application prior to first inspection and confirm its accuracy; and
  • BRR was not detected on the farm unit within the past year. If the unit was tested positive for BRR, please refer to section 4.5 for more details.

Additionally the following criteria apply:

4.3 New Seed Potato Growers

A new seed potato grower is:

Note: May not constitute a new grower:

  • An immediate family member taking over their family's seed potato farm, or
  • An individual coming from another farm unit that has had potatoes entered in the certification system in the previous two years and purchased an existing seed potato farm.

Each situation should be reviewed with the Regional Program Officer or the Inspection Supervisor and National Operations Specialist.

BMP - The year or years prior to being part of the seed potato certification program, a new grower should implement good management practices including disease prevention. Inspectors should be able to guide the new grower to put in place such measures. This should include rigorous and complete cleaning and disinfection of all equipment and facilities. It is also recommended that they implement a procedure for visual inspection for disease and pests and sampling programs for BRR, viruses, etc.

For new seed potato growers:

  • A new seed potato grower must send a request to enter the seed potato certification program to a CFIA inspector before the receipt of any seed potatoes intended for planting on their farm.
  • The CFIA inspector must ensure that a new grower is aware of the Seeds Regulations Part II and relevant directives (see the reference section) regarding certification requirements and should provide copies to the prospective seed grower prior to the completion of the Application for Seed Potato Crop Inspection Grower's Declaration (CFIA/ACIA 1317).
  • The inspector should review the application with the grower, clarify all entries and answer any questions.
  • All potato handling equipment, storage facilities, tote boxes, and other equipment associated with the production of potatoes on the farm unit must be cleaned and disinfected with a registered disinfectant prior to taking possession of any seed potatoes. Cleaning and disinfection must be supervised by a CFIA inspector and documented on a Disinfection Report (CFIA/ACIA 2415) (Appendix 3) before the arrival of seed potatoes on the farm unit. Cleaning and disinfection conducted and/or verified and documented by recognized authorities, e.g. provincial government, potato growers association are acceptable to support that the cleaning and disinfection was done properly.
  • All fields used by a new grower to produce seed potatoes that have been entered for certification must have been free of potatoes, including volunteers, during the previous two years. Fields that have not been entered for inspection, the inspector must be able to verify that they have been free of potatoes for at least the previous year, or they were not planted with non-certified potatoes. Proof and plan of the fields must be given to the inspector to confirm the field history.
  • The application for inspection has been completed in accordance with section 49 of the Seeds Regulations Part II.
  • All required inspection fees were paid as specified in D-95-13 and a CFIA/ACIA 5440 form was duly completed.

Below is a comparative table for the requirements for new and existing growers.

The following table compares requirements such as previous crop requirements, disinfection requirements, and Bacterial Ring Rot (BRR) survey requirements for existing grower and new growers.

Table 4.3 – 1: Comparative Requirements Between New and Existing Growers
Requirements Existing Growers New Growers
Previous crops

Fields to be inspected:

  • Fields identified by the growers that were used to produce seed potatoes in previous years planted with seed potatoes or Foundation class or higher in the previous two years.
  • New fields outside the seed unit (rental or traded land) must have been free of potatoes, including volunteer plants, for the previous two years.
  • Pre-Elite classes: seed must be planted in a field that was free of potatoes for the previous two years.

Same requirements as for existing growers with these additional requirements:

  • All fields submitted for certification on the seed farm unit must have been free of potatoes in the previous two years before enrolment.

Fields not submitted for certification:

  • Must have been planted with certified seeds in the previous year or free of potatoes.
  • It is recommended to clean and disinfect annually all machinery, equipment and the premises.
  • When taking possession of potatoes for planting
  • One disinfection under CFIA supervision is mandatory.
  • A proper and scrutiny cleaning must have been done before the arrival of the inspector.
  • When taking possession of potatoes for planting
BRR Survey (see directive D-97-12 section 3.2.2)

Sample collection is done by the grower and constant supervision by CFIA inspectors is not required.

The sample regime is the same as the existing growers, but the sample collection must be done by CFIA inspectors or under their direct supervision.

4.4 Disinfection

A full cleaning followed by disinfection is an efficient way to prevent the spread of various pathogens. A registered disinfectant by the Pest Management Regulatory Agencies (PMRA) or Health Canada for BRR must be used for disinfection.

At all times, machinery, equipment and boxes to be transported from a commercial unit to a seed farm unit, or coming from outside the seed farm unit (contract, purchase, loan), have to be disinfected. A cleaning and disinfection log should be completed when a mandatory disinfection is done. When the inspector doubts the completion and quality of the cleaning and disinfection, or in a unique situation, the inspector could ask to be notified before each cleaning/disinfection.


  • If the grower decides to have two farm units, it would be preferable for him/her to have in place a quality manual describing cleaning and disinfection procedures used between the two units. Supervision by a CFIA inspector of the disinfections between the two units is not mandatory. However, it might be necessary to verify occasionally how it is done by the grower, when time of operational staff permits it.
  • It is highly recommended that all disinfection activities are recorded in a log. Please note that the log could be audited by the inspection staff.

The following table summarizes disinfection requirements such as mandatory disinfections, verification by the CFIA, and disinfection logs.

Table 4.4-1 Summary of the Disinfection Requirements
Requirements Mandatory disinfection? Verification by the CFIA? Disinfection log?

New growers

Yes Yes Recommended

Grower's farm units affected by BRR in the previous year

Yes Yes Recommended

Machinery or equipment moving between:

Fields to be inspected and not to be inspected from a same seed farm unit
No No Recommended

Machinery or equipment moving between:

Seed farm units from the same grower
Highly Recommended No Highly Recommended

Machinery or equipment moving between:

A seed farm unit and a commercial farm unit
Yes No Highly Recommended

Loaning or renting potato storages outside the seed farm unit

Yes Yes Recommended

Purchasing, loaning, or renting used machinery outside the seed farm unit

Yes No Recommended

4.5 Seed Grower's Farm Unit(s) Affected by BRR in the Previous Year

For a seed potato farm unit identified to have grown a crop or produce potatoes affected with the pathogen causing BRR in the previous year, additional requirements apply prior to being considered eligible to produce certified seed potatoes.

  • Prior to receiving new potato seed for planting, a farm unit with a confirmed presence of the pathogen causing BRR must have undergone a thorough clean up and disinfection of potato handling equipment and storages under the supervision of a CFIA inspector or recognized provincial government or potato grower association representative. (for more details, please consult D-95-18: Investigation Procedure after Clavibacter michiganensis subsp. sepedonicusem Has has Been been Detected on a Seed Potato Farming Unit).
  • Fields which have produced a crop infested with the pathogen causing BRR must be inspected by a CFIA, provincial government or potato growers association inspector, and determined to have been free of potato plants (including volunteers) for two years before they can be used for potato production on a seed farm unit. The results of these inspections should be recorded and kept on file for future reference as proof of follow up. Written follow up with the grower should take place to advise him/her of your findings.
  • Fields declared suspect are the areas (fields) on a farm unit, which very likely produced BRR infected potatoes and for which it was not possible to obtain a sample to conduct the investigation on the crop as specified in D-95-18: Seed Potato Certification Program - Investigation Procedures after Discoveries of Bacterial Ring Rot, Clavibacter michiganensis subsp. sepedonicus. Suspect fields are subject to the requirement for freedom from all potatoes for 2 years as above. Fields found not positive or suspect for BRR are eligible for the production of seed potatoes.

BMP - When possible, it is recommended to plant seed potatoes in fields that have been out of potato production for at least 2 years.

4.6 Non-Registered Varieties of Seed Potatoes

Non-registered varieties are certified as seed potatoes the same way as registered varieties. With the exception of garden varieties, there is no production limit for non-registered varieties. Non-registered varieties differ from registered varieties when it comes to the sale of the seed potatoes. Varieties of seed potatoes sold in Canada must be registered except where permitted by the Seeds Regulations. The Seeds Regulations provide several provisions allowing movement of non-registered seed potato varieties and an exemption for non-commercial production of non-registered seed potato varieties.

4.7 Garden Varieties of Seed Potatoes

Potatoes with unique characteristics such as purple skin, black flesh or frost tolerance often have 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.

Directive D-98-04: Seed Potato Program - Certification of Garden Potato Varieties in Canada explains the requirements for production of Garden Varieties in Canada

4.8 Breeder's Selection Seed Potatoes

In order for a grower to obtain the certification of Breeder's Selection seed potatoes, in addition to meeting the requirement for the Application for Seed Potato Crop Inspection Grower's Declaration (CFIA/ACIA 1317), the following conditions must be met.

  • The parental material has to have been laboratory tested and not found positive for PSTVd;
  • A sample of the lot or growing crop must have been laboratory tested and not found positive for the presence of the pathogen Clavibacter michiganensis subsp. sepedonicus;
  • All Breeder's Selection crops must not have been planted within 10 metres of any class of seed potatoes;
  • All crops identified for certification as Breeder's Selection seed potatoes must be inspected at least twice during the growing season, and be within the tolerances specified for Foundation class seed potatoes.

Note: It is mandatory to declare Breeder's Selection crops on the same application as other potatoes on the farm unit. Breeder's Selection seed potatoes, for which a crop certificate has been issued, may be shipped between farm units within Canada only if a Certificate of Authorization is issued by a CFIA inspector and a copy accompanies the shipment. The class issued for Breeder's Selection seed, when determined to be in accordance with the tolerances specified for Foundation class seed potatoes, shall be Breeder's Selection.

4.9 Imported Seed Potatoes

Prior authorization must be obtained to import seed potatoes from the United States (continental US), whether or not they are to be entered into the Canadian Seed Potato Certification Program. Inspectors should refer to the CFIA's D-98-01: Import Requirements for Seed Potatoes and Other Propagative Material for information.

In addition to the regular information required the following information must be noted on the application (CFIA/ACIA 1317):

  • Approval of required test results as per D-98-01;
  • The Canadian equivalent seed class assigned to the lot as per D-98-01. Class equivalence will be assigned based on the information provided on the North American Certified Seed Potato Health Certificate (NACSPHC) supplied by the state authority upon request of the purchaser or the CFIA.

Following reception of all documents mentioned above, everything will be forwarded by the inspector to the regional program officer (RPO) for verification.

4.10 Fees

The CFIA is charging fees in accordance with the Canadian Food Inspection Agency Fees Notice and D-95-13: Seed Potato Certification Program- Submission/Refund of Fees for Field Inspection.

Anyone requiring other information regarding fees may contact any local CFIA office or visit our Fees Notice website and review the D-95-13.

The Canadian Food Inspection Agency Fees Notice is the legislation which establishes the fees the CFIA may charge in the delivery of programs.

  • Part 15 of the Canadian Food Inspection Agency Fees Notice stipulates a $50.00 application fee and an inspection fee of $20.00 per hectare, with a minimum fee of $20.00. A partial hectare is not assessed an additional fee. The fees and applicable taxes must be payable to the Receiver General for Canada.
  • Additional fees for phytosanitary certification and laboratory testing activities are covered separately. For more information on these fees consult the Canadian Food Inspection Agency Fees Notice.
  • All application fees must be paid in full at the time the application (CFIA/ACIA 1317) is submitted to the CFIA. Inspection activities should not commence until all information and supporting documentation is submitted and verified, and all fees are paid in full by cheque, credit card, or cash.
  • Once an inspector has begun an inspection of any crop, no fees or portion of that fee is refundable (see D-95-13 for more details).
  • For more information on fees or refunds for fields withdrawn from certification, refer to D-95-13.
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