BANNED: European Union To Outlaw Heirloom Seeds?

by Hanne Moon |  |  published on May 6, 2013

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Today, May 6th, 2013, the European Commission will consider legislation titled the “Plant Reproductive Material Law” which is intended to give it the power to “classify and regulate all plant life anywhere in Europe,” according to the Wales-based, DEFRA-registered seed supplier, The Real Seed Catalogue, a UK non-profit company dedicated to the needs of home gardeners.

According to, “If passed [this law] would mean no seed can be sold, or potentially even given for free, to anyone anywhere in the EU unless it is registered on the EU Plant List as an ‘approved’ variety. This would effectively outlaw Heritage [sic] seeds in the EU.”

The Big Ag seed industry has been lobbying for years for these regulations, and DG SANCO (the Directorate General of the EU for Sanitary and Consumer Affairs) is fully on board with the proposed legislation. The agricultural seed industry has spent a lot of money to get this legislation enacted.

However, DG AGRI (Directorate General of Agriculture and Rural Development) and DGENVI (Directorate General for the Environment), two other EU directorates, both oppose the proposed legislation. They seem to understand that enactment of this law will be a death knell for agriculture and biodiversity. DG SANCO is pushing ahead anyway by placing it before the Commission directly.

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