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Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service
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APHIS Extends the Comment Period on A New Approach to International Seed Trade

In today’s global market, U.S. producers need access to diverse varieties of healthy seed from around the world, and sufficient safeguards to protect their industries against the introduction and distribution of damaging seed-borne diseases. APHIS’ Regulatory Framework for Seed Health (ReFreSH), when fully implemented, will help manage the phytosanitary challenges and risks of introducing and distributing seed-borne diseases.

The new ReFreSH web page outlines how this risk-based systems approach works to leverage current seed industry production and quality management practices to reduce overall pest risk. It also has links to the program’s foundational documents for industry to read:

  • Refresh Concept Paper: Describes the seed industry, global trade, and the need for ReFreSH.
  • ReFreSH Accreditation Standard: Describes the essential elements of ReFreSH, outlines requirements for participation in the ReFreSH program, and explains participant roles and responsibilities.
  • ReFreSH Participant Manual: Describes the procedures and processes entities use to comply with the ReFreSH accreditation standard.

Stakeholder Comments

We are accepting Stakeholder comments on two of these documents till April 6, 2022: the ReFreSH Participant Manual and the ReFreSH Participant Manual. We are interested in industry’s thoughts on feasibility, cost, accreditation process, the program’s potential to reduce pest risk, additional industry best practices to manage pest risk, and other issues. Send your comments or questions about the ReFreSH approach to ppq.nappra@usda.gov, or ATTN: ReFreSH Questions, Unit 133, IRM, PPQ, APHIS, 4700 River Road, Riverdale, MD 20737-1236


USDA touches the lives of all Americans each day in so many positive ways. In the Biden-Harris Administration, USDA is transforming America’s food system with a greater focus on more resilient local and regional food production, fairer markets for all producers, ensuring access to safe, healthy and nutritious food in all communities, building new markets and streams of income for farmers and producers using climate smart food and forestry practices, making historic investments in infrastructure and clean energy capabilities in rural America, and committing to equity across the Department by removing systemic barriers and building a workforce more representative of America. To learn more, visit www.usda.gov.

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