Maine Seed Law

Maine Seed Law here, under Subchapter 11.

Summary

Sections 1043 and 1044 of the Maine Seed Law subjects seeds that are ’sold,’ ’offered for sale,’ or ’exposed for sale’ to ’Label Requirements’ and ’Prohibitions.’ However, the law does not include definitions for ’sell,’ ’offer for sale,’ or ’expose for sale.’  Although the law exempts "seed or grain not intended for sowing purposes" from compliance with these Sections, this is also not defined. The legal implications for seed libraries depend on the interpretation of "grain not intended for sowing purposes," and whether seed libraries fall under that description. 

Title 7: AGRICULTURE AND ANIMALS

Part 2: MARKETING, GRADING AND LABELING

Chapter 103: PRODUCTS CONTROLLED

Subchapter 11: SEEDS

 

§1041. Title

This subchapter shall be known and may be cited as the "Maine Seed Law."

§1042. Definitions

2. Agricultural seeds.  "Agricultural seeds" shall include the seeds of grass, forage, cereal and fiber crops and any other kinds of seeds commonly recognized within this State as agricultural or field seeds, and mixtures of such seeds, except seeds of cereals grown in Maine and sold directly from grower to grower and not labeled as seed.

 

5. Person.  "Person" shall include any individual, partnership, corporation, company, society or association.

 

8. Vegetable seeds.  "Vegetable seeds" shall include the seeds of those crops which are grown in gardens or on truck farms and are generally known and sold under the name of vegetable seeds in this State.

 

 

§1043. Label requirements

Each container of agricultural, vegetable or tree and shrub seeds which is sold, offered for sale or exposed for sale within the State for sowing purposes shall bear thereon or have attached thereto in a conspicuous place a plainly written or printed label or tag in the English language, giving the following information: 

1. Agricultural seeds.  For agricultural seeds:

A. Commonly accepted name of kind or kind and variety of each agricultural seed component in excess of 5% of the whole and the percentage by weight of each in the order of its predominance. Where more than one component is required to be named, the word "mixture" or "mixed" shall be shown conspicuously on the label;

B. Lot number or other lot identification;

C. Origin, if known, of alfalfa, red clover and field corn, except hybrid corn. If the origin is unknown, that fact shall be stated;

D. Percentage by weight of all weed seeds;

E. The name and approximate number of each kind of secondary noxious-weed seed:

(1) Per ounce in Agrostis spp., Poa spp., Rhodes grass, Bermuda grass, timothy, orchard grass, fescues, alsike and white clover, reed canary grass, Dallis grass, ryegrass, foxtail millet, alfalfa, red clover, sweetclovers, lespedezas, smooth brome, crimson clover, Brassica spp., flax, Agropyron spp. and other agricultural seeds of similar size and weight or mixtures within this group; and

(2) Per pound in proso, Sudan grass, wheat, oats, rye, barley, buckwheat, sorghums, vetches and other agricultural seeds of a size and weight similar to or greater than those within this group or any mixtures within this group.

All determinations of noxious-weed seeds shall be subject to tolerances and methods of determination prescribed in the rules and regulations promulgated by the commissioner under this subchapter;

F. Percentage by weight of agricultural seeds, which may be designated as "crop seeds," other than those required to be named on the label;

G. Percentage by weight of inert matter;

H. For each named agricultural seed:

(1) Percentage of germination, exclusive of hard seed;

(2) Percentage of hard seed, if present;

(3) "Total germination and hard seed" may be stated as such, if desired;

(4) The calendar month and year the test was completed to determine such percentages;

I. Name and address of the person who labeled said seed or who sells, offers or exposes said seed for sale within this State.

2. Vegetable seeds.  For vegetable seeds:

A. Name of kind and variety of seed;

B. For seeds which germinate less than the standard last established by the commissioner:

(1) Percentage of germination, exclusive of hard seed;

(2) Percentage of hard seed, if present;

(3) The calendar month and year the test was completed to determine such percentages;

(4) The words "Below Standard" in not less than 8-point type.

C. Name and address of the person who labeled said seed or who sells, offers or exposes said seed for sale within this State.

3. Tree and shrub seeds.  For tree and shrub seeds:

A. Name of kind and variety;

B. The percentage by weight of pure seed; 

C. The percentage of germination; 

D. The year of collection of such seed; 

E. The specific locality, state and county in the United States or nearest equivalent political unit in the case of foreign countries, in which the seed was collected. 

F. Name and address of the person who labeled said seed, or who sells, offers or exposes said seed for sale within this State. 

 

§1044. Prohibitions

1. Test for germination; labels; ads; noxious weeds.  It shall be unlawful for any person to sell, offer for sale or expose for sale any agricultural, vegetable or tree and shrub seeds within this State:

A. Unless the test to determine the percentage of germination required by section 1043 shall have been completed within a 9-month period, exclusive of the calendar month in which the test was completed, immediately prior to sale, exposure for sale or offering for sale or transportation;

B. Not labeled in accordance with this subchapter, or having a false or misleading label;

C. Pertaining to which there has been a false or misleading advertisement;

D. Containing primary noxious-weed seeds not in accordance with tolerances and methods of determination prescribed in the rules and regulations promulgated by the commissioner;

E. If noxious-weed seeds are present singularly or collectively in excess of 500 per pound.

2. Misuse of labels; false ads; obstructions; stop-sales.  It shall be unlawful for any person within this State:

A. To detach, alter, deface or destroy any label provided for in this subchapter, or the rules and regulations promulgated by the commissioner thereunder, or to alter or substitute seed in any manner that may defeat the purposes of said subchapter;

B. To disseminate any false or misleading advertisement concerning agricultural, vegetable or tree and shrub seeds in any manner or by any means; [1969, c. 42, §6 (AMD).]

C. To hinder or obstruct in any way any authorized person in the performance of his duties under this subchapter;

D. To fail to comply with a "stop-sale" order.

 

§1045. Exemptions and violations

Sections 1043 and 1044 shall not apply to seed or grain not intended for sowing purposes, nor to seed in storage in, or consigned to, a seed cleaning or processing establishment for cleaning or processing. Any labeling or other representation which may be made with respect to the uncleaned or unprocessed seed shall be subject to this subchapter. 

No person shall be deemed in violation of this subchapter for having sold or offered or exposed for sale in this State any agricultural vegetable or tree and shrub seed which were incorrectly labeled or represented as to kind, variety, type or origin, which seeds cannot be identified by examination thereof, unless he has failed to obtain an invoice or grower’s declaration giving kind, or kind and variety, or kind and type, and origin if required, and to take such other precautions as may be necessary to insure the identity to be that stated. 

Violation of this subchapter is a civil violation for which the following forfeitures may be adjudged. 

1. First violation.  For the first violation, a forfeiture not to exceed $100; and

2. Subsequent violation.  For each subsequent similar violation, a forfeiture not to exceed $250.