Bayer Joins USDA’s National Seed Health Accreditation Pilot Program

Bayer Joins USDA’s National Seed Health Accreditation Pilot Program

The Vegetable Seeds division of Bayer has joined the National Seed Health Accreditation Pilot Program, or NSHAPP. Under NSHAPP, Bayer Vegetable Seeds commits to testing all imported cucumber, melon, and watermelon seed lots from breeder and foundation seed, which is seed designated by an agriculture experiment station, through commercial seed.

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The goal of the NSHAPP includes developing a model for a voluntary system of testing seed imported into the U.S. for pathogens of phytosanitary concern. According to the program’s website, the initiative was created in response to detection of foreign pathogens in the U.S.

The USDA-Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (USDA-APHIS) has partnered with the seed industry to screen imported seed with diagnostic testing to prevent the introduction of seed-transmitted pathogens. The cucurbit pathogen cucumber green mottle mosaic virus (CGMMV) will serve as the first pathogen to be tested under this program.

All testing will be performed according to the official International Seed Testing Association-approved methodology, under Bayer’s existing NAL (Naktuinbouw) lab certification. Testing results are reported to the National Seed Health Coordinator at the National Seed Health System Administration Unit, and all lots with a positive test result must be destroyed or re-exported. The USDA-APHIS will use the bulk data collected to improve the management of phytosanitary risk from CGMMV, and potentially other seed-borne pathogens in the future.

The 2015 Farm Bill funds this program through the end of 2016.