Problems in tissue culture export to USA

In the past few months, several companies have reported to Plantum that they are experiencing problems exporting tissue culture plants on the growth medium agar containing activated carbon to the United States. Batches of these plants have been stopped and destroyed at a number of airports. The problem that the inspectors see at the airports is that agar with activated carbon is black and opaque. The USDA-APHIS, the National Plant Protection Office, has laid down the import rules as of 2018 in the plants for planting manual. This manual prescribes that the growth medium must be transparent.

Incorrectly copied
The planting manual is a collection of various regulations in which the import rules were previously laid down. However, an error seems to have been made in the copying of information regarding growth medium from the CFR, the regulation in which the rules for the import of tissue culture plants were laid down before 2018. From 2001 to 2008, the same problem occurred, and a lot of information was shared with the USDA in order to get agar with activated carbon accepted. At the time, this led to changes in the regulations to make it possible to import tissue culture on black agar. However, this rule was not properly incorporated into the plants for planting manual, which is now causing problems.

Commitment of Plantum
For a number of crops, activated carbon in the growth medium is crucial for growing vital plants. Various Plantum members are now joining forces with the NVWA to start talks with the USDA to restore the rules. This is not only good for tissue culture companies but also for their customers in the US. In the short term, the possibility of destructive sampling for export to the US will be explored. In that case, part of the shipment will be opened to remove the plants from the growth medium for visual inspection.

source: Plantum

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