Treated sowing seeds
Treated sowing seeds are seeds treated with a plant protection product for seed treatment. The seeds are then protected against certain enemies.
Pursuant to European Regulation 1107/2009 treated sowing seeds can only be imported and sown if the plant protection product with which the seeds were treated is authorised in this respect in at least one Member State. Treating sowing seeds in Belgium is only allowed with plant protection products that are authorised in Belgium for this purpose.
As far as the treated seeds are concerned, they enjoy the free movement of goods in Europe. Even is the seed treatment product is in the meantime no longer authorised, e.g. due to withdrawal of the national authorisation or of the European approval of the active substance, then still the treated seeds are allowed to be imported and/or sown in Belgium or any other member-state, and this without any limitation in time. The seed treatment product only needed to be authorised on the moment of the seed treatment in the member-state where the treatment took place. There are two exceptions to this:
- If the European approval of the active substance contains rules for the placing on the market or sowing of the treated seeds, these will of course apply.
- If the treatment of the seeds was authorised by means of an emergency authorisation, then a Belgian emergency authorisation is always required for the sowing of the treated seeds on the Belgian territory.
The accompanying labels of treated sowing seeds must be provided with the trade name of the relevant plant protection product, the active substance, hazard statements and possible risk-mitigating measures.
Since the required indications are not so clearly specified, clarifying guidelines are currently being developed at the European level. As the treated seeds can freely circulate, it is important to work towards harmonised rules. In the meantime, it has been agreed at the Belgian level to interpret the required indications as follows:
- trade name of the relevant plant protection product: the name of the plant protection product as authorised in the country where the treatment takes place and, if necessary, the other main commercial names of this plant protection product in other countries, in order to enhance transparency for the end user
- The name of the active substance(s) and possible risk-mitigating measures are those indicated on the authorisation certificate of the relevant plant protection product
- Hazard statements: the hazard statements are shown below, which were specially developed in this regard:
The protection of these seeds is ensured in accordance with an agreed upon industry quality standard. To protect your own safety and the environment, the following precautionary measures should be observed:
- General: Do not use treated seed for human or animal consumption, or for other processing. Keep out of reach of children and animals. Handle seed packaging with care. Avoid contact with the skin and respiratory tract and wear protective clothing when handling the treated seed and when cleaning the sowing equipment. Wash hands and exposed skin before mealtimes and after work. Cover or remove spilled seed. Keep treated seed away from surface water.
- Before sowing: Avoid exposure to dust if the bags are opened, and when filling or emptying the sowing machine. When filling, do not transfer any dust present from the seed bag to the sowing machine. Do not handle the already disinfected seed along with other products.
- During sowing: If a pneumatic sowing machine with a vacuum is used, the air flow which may contain dust from the treated seed must be aimed towards the ground or in the ground using so-called deflectors. Sow with the recommended quantity of seed. To protect birds and mammals, treated seed must be fully incorporated into the soil, even at the start and end of a row.
- After sowing: Do not leave empty bags or treated seed uncovered in the environment. Remove them in accordance with the locally applicable requirements. Ensure that remnants of treated seed are put back into the original bags. Do not use empty sowing seed bags for other purposes.
- These hazard statements are supplemented with these symbols:
- Risk-mitigating measures: the approval of certain plant protection products provides for specific measures which must also appear on the bag of treated seed.
- Protection of aquatic organisms: as foreseen for other application methods, a minimum buffer zone of one meter has to be respected towards surface water. Hence, following risk mitigation measure has to be mentioned on the packaging of treated seeds: “To protect aquatic organisms do not sow treated seeds at less than one meter distance from surface water.” In Belgium, such measures are foreseen for all plant protection products.
For specific products such as certain insecticides, additional sentences are indicated on the authorisation certificate. It can be necessary to mention those sentences as well on the packaging of the treated seeds, because they are important for the sowing of these seeds. E.g. following sentence for the protection of bees:
- SPe8: Dangerous to bees and bumblebees. To protect bees and other pollinating insects, do not establish a crop that would be visited by bees or bumblebees as alternative crop in case of early destruction of the treated crop. The seeds should be sown between July and December.
In this way, the legislation will be applied and controlled. All packaging of treated sowing seeds must therefore be in compliance. This concerns all treated sowing seeds which are placed on the market, regardless of who carried out the treatment, in other words both Belgian and foreign seed processing companies, and grain sorters. Also in case of direct sale to individual farmers, the packaging needs to comply with these requirements.