Regulatory Changes Affecting Pedigreed Seed of Corn
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The Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA) has amended the Seeds Regulations to provide greater consistency for how seed blends created to manage pests are graded, labelled and tagged.
These changes apply to blends of certain varieties of the major crop kinds, including corn. This will help producers who previously had to purchase and plant different varieties separately to take advantage of new pest management practices.
A blend for pest management combines at least two different varieties of seed.
- Most of the seed is the crop that the farmer wants to produce, which has been developed to resist a specific pest.
- This is mixed with a small amount of seed of a plant variety that is not resistant to the pest and can serve as a host for the pest.
Planting these different varieties of seed together helps to protect the long-term pest resistance of the crop.
Blending pedigreed corn varieties
To create a varietal blend of seed to manage pests for hybrid corn, separate lots of Certified status seed are blended by an approved conditioner and sold as a blended product.
The approved conditioners creating the blends must do the following:
- maintain complete records so that the seed can be tracked in the marketplace,
- include the new procedures in the establishment's quality management system manual or procedures as appropriate, and
- complete a pedigreed seed declaration for the blended lot and retain this record for one year after the final disposition of the Certified status seed lot.
Purity and germination testing
The blended product must meet Canadian purity and germination standards and be graded with a Canada pedigreed grade name (for example Canada Foundation No. 1) before official Canadian seed tags can be attached to the seed.
For Canadian domestic product, the Canadian Certified tag (CFIA/ACIA 0031) must indicate the name of all the varieties in the blend (for example, "CornAA/CornBB"). Instead of the two crop certificate numbers, the tag should indicate the two-digit seed year designation followed by the word "BLEND."
- If the components were produced in the same seed year, this year is indicated on the tag.
- If the components were produced in different seed years, then the year of the blending is indicated on the tag.
Canadian interagency tags (CFIA/ACIA 0034 or CFIA/ACIA 5627) must be used if one or more of the components of the blend was produced, conditioned or blended in another country. The Canadian interagency tag must indicate the following:
- the names of both varieties in the blend,
- the pedigreed status of the seed,
- the name of the official state certifying agency, and
- a unique lot number that can be traced to the component seed lots.
Corn seed imported from the United States may have Certified status tags issued by an official certifying agency of a US state, if both components of the blend were produced, conditioned and blended in a single state. If the components were produced, conditioned or blended in more than one state, then interagency tags must have been applied.
In both cases the tags must indicate the following:
- the names of the varieties in the blend,
- the pedigreed status,
- a unique lot number for the blended seed, and
- the name(s) of the official certifying agency(ies) of the US state(s).
The seed can be sold in Canada with tags from the official certifying agency of a US state if these two conditions are met:
- the seed has been graded, and
- a pedigreed grade name has been applied.
There is no requirement to specify the percentages of the varieties in the blend on the tag or label.
Labelling and advertising
The Seeds Regulations prohibit using any brand name or mark that might be construed as the name of a variety. If the brand name is similar to the name of a variety, the brand name must be followed by the word "Brand" or the symbols ™, or ®. This must be done in all instances where the brand name is applied (for example, invoices, brochures, advertising and packaging).
Varietal blends created to manage pests may be advertised using the name of the predominant variety alone, but the names of the varieties in the blend must appear on the official tag and label.
Insect resistance management plan
If a varietal blend intended to manage pests contains a variety of a plant with a novel trait (PNT), the PNT must have been approved for unconfined environmental release by the CFIA. The crop must be produced according to the conditions prescribed in the insect resistance management plan approved by the CFIA for that varietal blend.
Eligibility for sale in Canada
Although corn is not subject to variety registration in Canada, the seed of field corn must be of pedigreed status in order to be sold in Canada.
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