The Federal Office for Food Safety is the first authority responsible for implementing the Seed Act 1997 as amended. The aim of the Seed Act is to ensure the quality of seeds placed on the market by official measures.
The Austrian seed certification system takes particular account of the requirements of organic farming and in any case ensures the legal minimum standards for the quality of the seed:
- High technical quality of the seed
- High varietal purity of seed of authorised varieties
- High health status of the seed
- High germination capacity and high utility value for cultivation
- absence of contamination of seeds with GMOs (genetically modified organisms)
Within the framework of laboratory certification, seed quality shall be checked for
- technical purity (e.g. breakage, chaff, soil)
- stocking with other seeds and dangerous admixtures (e.g. sclerotia, ergot)
- germination capacity
- Health status (e.g. stone brandy in wheat, flying brandy in barley and wheat, spotting disease in pea, lupine, field bean and phaseolus beans)
- GMO-freedom (investigations are only carried out if it is a botanical species which has a potential risk of GMO contamination (Seed Genetic Engineering Regulation)
The requirements for quality are laid down in the methods for seed and varieties in accordance with § 5 of the Seed Act for the technical implementation of seed law.