Wednesday, October 27, 2010

U.S. And Canada Seeking "White List" Of Allowable Plants

The U.S. and Canadian governments are planning to introduce a "white list" of plants that are allowed entry into each country under a joint Canada-USA greenhouse certification program. The United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) and the Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA) are requesting comments from stakeholders on a proposal to replace the current list of prohibited plants with this new list of allowed plants. What this means is that if a plant is not on the allowed list it cannot enter the U.S. from Canada or vice versa. Many thousands of plants including many herbs will be barred entry under the proposal.

This change is highly significant for both countries because it appears to be a first attempt to implement a controversal "white list" approach to the control of cross-border plant movement. The proposed "white list" is far more restrictive than the current "black list" of prohibited plants that has been in place since the inception of the binational Greenhouse Certification Program in 1996. The proposed "white list" of allowed plants includes less than 1000 plant genera, out of over 12,600 genera of flowering plants known to man. The current "black list" of prohibited plants has fewer than 100 genera.

Gardeners, herbalists, commercial growers, and the gardening and herbal media are encouraged to submit comments.

The deadline for comments is October 31, 2010.

United States: Email your comments to Michael D. Ward, Senior Accreditation Projects Manager, USDA-APHIS-PPQ (michael.d.ward@aphis.usda.gov)

Canada: Email your comments to the CFIA
(horticulture@inspection.gc.ca)

The relevant documents, including the proposed lists of authorized genera and families, are available here.

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