Potato Quarantine


Entry of stolon- and tuber-forming Solanum material into the EU for further propagation is prohibited ( EC Plant Health Directive (2000/29/EC as amended). Material may, however, enter the EU under a derogation specified in Commission Directive 2008/61/EC. The material must undergo official post-entry quarantine testing.

In the UK potato quarantine testing is done at the UK Potato Quarantine Unit (UKPQU), a purpose-built facility at SASA.

A plant health import licence is required prior to import.

The UKPQU is overseen by a Review Committee  comprising stakeholders including the Scottish Government, the Department for Environment and Rural Affairs (DEFRA), Department of Agriculture and Rural Development for Northern Ireland (DARD-NI), British Society of Plant Breeders and research and commercial interests. The committee meets every several years. A report of the work of the UKPQU is prepared for these meetings and can be viewed here.


Each unit of potato material is established as in vitro microplant cultures, observed over a growing season in the glasshouse for the presence of diseases and tested for specific pathogens. The testing done by the UKPQU exceeds EC requirements. 

Material released by the UKPQU is issued with a plant passport and may be planted without further testing anywhere in the EC. You can obtain a copy of our testing procedures from the Potato Quarantine Unit


Virus elimination and rapid multiplication services are provided for customers.

The UKPQU has been involved in quarantine testing programmes for true potato seed from UK gene banks. Tested seed is held in the Commonwealth Potato Collection at the Scottish Crop Research Institute.

The UKPQU collaborates with other potato quarantine scientists internationally to develop new methods, evaluate existing methods for pathogen diagnosis for potato quarantine purposes and to develop guidelines for the safe movement of potato germplasm.


View the reports of the work of the United Kingdom Potato Quarantine Unit