Fruit Propagation Certification Scheme

How commercial plant growers can grow FPCS-certified stock, and find out the benefits of using it in commercial plantations.

Applies to England and Wales

The Fruit Propagation Certification Scheme (FPCS) encourages the production and use of healthy planting stock. You must join the FCPS if you want to sell certified plants to a commercial grower (‘propagator’).

You can apply to join the FPCS to grow proven healthy stock if you’re a commercial grower of:

  • soft fruit – Fragaria, Rubus, Ribes and Vaccinium
  • top fruit – Malus, Pyrus, Prunus and Cydonia
  • rootstocks and ornamental varieties associated with top fruit
  • micropropagated material of any of the above crops

Contact the Plant Health and Seeds Inspectorate (PHSI) for information on other species.

Apply for FPCS certification

The UK has a UK certification scheme based on the current rules for marketing plants within the UK.

EU fruit propagating material continues to be marketable in Great Britain under EU labelling requirements, provided the material can be traced to a UK address.

If the species previously required an EU plant passport to be imported from the EU to the UK, you’ll need a phytosanitary certificate. Certified plants can be entered in FPCS if they meet the specific conditions.

Any grower in England and Wales can apply to have their crops certified under the FPCS. Your crops must be of known lineage unless you’re entering it at Conformitas Agraria Communitatis (CAC) grade.

All material must be grown under specific conditions relating to their site and isolation from other crops as explained in these guides:

Use the Nuclear Stock Association’s application forms to enter stocks into FPCS.

If you’re entering planting material only for the CAC grade you must register with Animal and Plant Health Agency (APHA) to issue plant passports. Apply through PHSI.


APHA Plant Health and Seeds Inspectors (PHSI) inspect crops at least once a year to check they meet the standards set out in the guides.

Assessments are normally made on the basis of visual examinations, but samples may be taken for laboratory analysis to get a definitive diagnosis.

If a stock fails an inspection, PHSI may tell the the propagator they can remove plants that do not meet the scheme standards and request an additional inspection.


If the crop meets all the conditions set out in the guides, they’ll get FPCS certification. Certification details are published in the FPCS annual register.


You’ll pay fees for all crop inspections relating to certifications. Any samples submitted to support inspections will be handled by Fera Science who will invoice you.

Grading system

You can enter your crop to meet one of these grades:

  • pre-basic
  • basic
  • certified

Crops which cannot meet the entry requirements for any FPCS grades are designated CAC, which means that they meet simpler standards.

Hops certification

You can apply for hops certification under the voluntary Plant Health Propagation Scheme (PHPS) (PDF, 185 KB, 12 pages). Planting material must be grown under specific conditions relating to site and isolation from other crops as set out in this guide.

Hops fees

You’ll pay fees for all crop inspections relating to certifications. Any samples submitted to support inspections will be handled by Fera Science who will invoice you.

CAC grade

CAC is the minimum category for sale of fruit plant material.

The Marketing of Fruit Plant Material Regulations 2017 and the Marketing of Fruit Plant and Propagating Material (Wales) 2017 apply to fruit plants and propagating material including rootstocks of these genera and species:

  • almond (Prunus amygdalus Batsch)
  • apple (Malus)
  • apricot (Prunus armeniaca)
  • chestnut (Castanea sativa Mill.)
  • black, red and white currant, gooseberry (Ribes)
  • blackberry, raspberry and hybrid berries (Rubus)
  • blueberry, cranberry and bilberry (Vaccinium)
  • common edible fig (Ficus carica)
  • grapefruit, lemon, lime, mandarin, orange (Citrus)
  • hazel (Corylus avellana)
  • Japanese plum (Prunus salicina Lindley)
  • kumquat (Fortunella Swingle)
  • olive (Olea europaea)
  • peach (Prunus persica Batsch)
  • all cultivated edible pears, including perry pears (Pyrus)
  • pistachio (Pistacia vera)
  • plum (Prunus domestica)
  • quince (Cydonia oblonga Mill.)
  • sour cherry (Prunus cerasus)
  • all cultivated strawberry species (Fragaria)
  • sweet cherry (Prunus avium)
  • trifoliate orange (Poncirus Raf.)
  • walnut (Juglans regia)

CAC exemptions

You do not have to follow the regulations if you’re:

  • exporting plant material to buyers in non-EU countries
  • a small producer and all of your production is for sale or growing in the local market

Register as a grower

You must register with APHA to sell CAC grade produce. Registration is free. Contact PHSI about which varieties you can market.

Quality and health requirements

CAC material must be practically free from certain pests and diseases (PDF, 129 KB, 7 pages) as appropriate to the genus or species. Contact PHSI about genera not explained in this guide.

The supplier is responsible for carrying out visual inspections and sampling and testing of CAC material.

CAC material must also be practically free from defects such as injuries, discolouration, scar tissue and desiccation.

If the CAC material no longer applies with the standards the supplier must:

  • remove the material from the vicinity of other CAC material
  • take measures, such as removing diseased or injured plants, to ensure the material is practically free from defects

Supplier document

You can only market CAC material if it has a ‘supplier document’, which is any document or label produced by the supplier with the following information:

  • ‘UK quality’
  • CAC material UK’ to indicate the plants were grown in, or imported into, the UK
  • ‘EW’, the code for England and Wales
  • registration number of supplier
  • name of supplier
  • individual serial, week or batch number
  • date of issue of document
  • botanical name of the plants, such as fragaria or rubus
  • variety name, or for rootstocks, a designation if there is no variety name
  • the name of the variety of the rootstock and of the top-graft for grafted fruit plants
  • quantity of the plant material

The plant passport and supplier’s document can be joint or separate. When a joint label or document is used, the plant passport must be distinct from other information on that label or document (for example in a separate outlined box).

These genera must have official plant passporting inspections for certain quarantine organisms, and the words ‘EC plant passport’ on their supplier document:

  • Fragaria
  • Malus
  • Prunus
  • Pyrus
  • Rubus

Keep records

You must keep at least 3 years’ records for CAC material of:

  • sales and purchases of plant material
  • the composition and origin of plant material of different origins mixed by the supplier during packaging, storage or transport
  • what plant material is under production on site
  • any pests and diseases and measures taken for control
Published 30 January 2017
Last updated 18 February 2022 + show all updates
  1. Updated the certification scheme explanatory guides for strawberries (fragaria), raspberries and blackberries (rubus) and black currants, red currants, white currants, gooseberries (ribes).

  2. Updated the certification scheme fruit plants guides and the hops certification guide.

  3. Updated with guidance on how to comply with rules from 1 January.

  4. Plant Health propagation scheme (PHPS) and Pests and Diseases document updated.

  5. Updated FPCS certification guides (top fruit-complete trees; blueberries (Vaccinium); raspberries (Rubus); black currants, red currants, white currants and gooseberries) and Hops certification leaflet.

  6. Updated FPCS certification guides, CAC pests and diseases table and Hops certification leaflet.

  7. Updated document: raspberries (Rubus) FPCS certification

  8. Updated attached EU certification guides to raspberries (Rubus) and strawberries (Fragaria).

  9. First published.