The Federal Office for Food Safety is the competent authority of first instance for the enforcement of the Seed Act 1997 as amended. The Seed Act aims to ensure the quality of seed placed on the market through official measures.

The Austrian seed certification system takes particular account of the requirements of organic farming and in any case ensures the minimum legal standards for the quality of seed:

  • High technical quality of the seed
  • High varietal purity of the seed of approved varieties
  • High health status of the seed
  • High germination capacity and high utility value for cultivation
  • Absence of contamination of the seed with GMOs (genetically modified organisms)

As part of the laboratory certification , the seed quality is checked for

  • technical purity (e.g. breakage, chaff, soil)
  • Contamination with other seeds and dangerous admixtures (e.g. sclerotia, ergot)
  • germination capacity
  • State of health (e.g. stone blight in wheat, blight in barley and wheat, burnt spot disease in peas, lupins, field beans and phaseolus beans)
  • GMO-free (tests are only carried out if it is a botanical species with a potential risk of GMO contamination (Seed Genetic Engineering Ordinance))

The quality requirements are laid down in the methods for seeds and varieties in accordance with § 5 of the Seed Act for the technical implementation of seed law.

For more information on the absence of contamination of the seed with GMOs (genetically modified organisms), see GMO-free seed.


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