Safe Haven Certification Scheme

What is the scheme?

The Safe Haven Certification Scheme presently covers 60% of all seed production in Great Britain. It was set up by the British seed industry in 2004 to provide additional protection for the British potato industry and its customers from bacterial ring rot. The scheme comprises scientifically robust protocols that ensure best practice for seed growing and handling and require businesses who are members of the scheme to be audited annually to ensure compliance. The Safe Haven Certification Scheme is supported by Red Tractor and Assured Food Standards. 

The Safe Haven scheme can also help protect against any pest or disease that can be imported or introduced by seed. This includes other bacterial diseases like brown rot or Dickeya spp. and soil borne pests like root knot nematode.

Why is it important?

The Safe Haven Certification Scheme is designed to reduce the risk of outbreaks of ring rot and other bacterial diseases of potatoes through a series of standards covering all the potential infection points. The 'ring fence' that the scheme provides ensures that all seed within the scheme is only grown from Safe Haven-sourced seed or disease-free nuclear stock and this helps protect against any pests and diseases not found in Britain which affect potatoes.

What you can do

The seed supply chain in Great Britain is free from ring rot and will remain this way provided we – as an industry – work together to prevent it being imported. Individual decisions about seed sourcing matter.

Use Safe Haven Seed

Growers should request Safe Haven seed whenever possible to protect our industry from non-indigenous diseases. Use the Membership directory to identify accredited safe haven seed growers.  

Follow the Safe Haven Standards

Following the Safe Haven Standards will help members to avoid and manage the risks associated with bacterial ring rot and Dickeya. 

Check your plant health

Ring rot

Ring rot is a bacterial infection listed as notifiable under the EU Council Directive 2000/29/EC. The organism presents no risk to human health but does however present a significant risk to potato production. Symptoms of ring rot are slow to develop and so can remain undetected in crops from generation to generation. This makes the disease extremely difficult to control once it is established as seed material will have been distributed and tubers handled with the same machinery contaminated. Use these photographs to help identify ring rot or find out more in our Bacterial ring rot of potato – the facts brochure. 

Further information on plant health is available from Fera and Scottish Government

AHDB Potatoes Seed and Export Team

Patrick Hughes

Head of Export Trade Development - Potatoes

Safe Haven Scheme information

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