Delaware Seed Law

Text of the Delaware Seed Law

(Delaware Code Title 3, Part II, Chapter 15 Seeds)

Summary

THIS LAW SHOULD BE CLARIFIED AND/OR CHANGED. The Delaware seed law only regulates seed that is "sold" in the state. Unfortunately, the statute does not elaborate on the definition of "sold." As seen in the seed laws of other states, this term can include "exchanges" where no money changes hands. The statute should clarify what exactly "sold" means, and exempt seed libraries if they do, in fact, come under the law’s scope. 

§ 1501 Definitions.

(1) "Person" includes any individual, partnership, corporation, company, society or association.

(2) "Agricultural seed" includes the seeds of grass, forage, cereal, and fiber crops and other kinds of seeds commonly recognized within this State as agricultural seeds, lawn seeds and mixes of such seeds, and may include noxious weed seeds when the Department determines that such seed is being used as agricultural seed.

§ 1502 Label requirements — Agricultural, vegetable and flower seeds.

Each container of agricultural, vegetable and flower seeds which is sold, offered for sale or exposed for sale, or transported within this 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, which statement shall not be modified or denied in the labeling or on another label attached to the container:

(1) For all agricultural, vegetable and flower seeds treated as defined in this chapter (for which a separate label may be used):

a. A word or statement indicating that the seed has been treated;

b. The commonly accepted coined, chemical or abbreviated chemical (generic) name of the applied substance or description of the process used;

c. If the substance in the amount present with the seed is harmful to human or other vertebrate animals, a caution statement such as "Do not use for food, feed or oil purposes." The caution for mercurials and similarly toxic substances shall be a poison statement or symbol;

d. If the seed is treated with an inoculant, the date beyond which the inoculant is not to be considered effective (date of expiration).

(2) For agricultural seeds, except for grass seed mixtures as provided in subdivision (3) of this section:

a. The name of the kind, or kind and variety for each agricultural seed component present in excess of 5% of the whole and the percentage by weight of each in the order of its predominance; provided, that if the variety of those kinds generally labeled as to variety as designated in the regulations is not stated, the label shall show the name of the kind and the words, "Variety Not Stated." Hybrids shall be labeled as hybrids. Where more than 1 component is required to be named, the word "mixture" or the word "mixed" shall be shown conspicuously on the label;

b. Lot number or other lot identification;

c. Origin (state or foreign country), if known, of alfalfa, red clover and field corn (except hybrid corn). If the origin is unknown, the fact shall be stated;

d. Percentage by weight of all weed seeds;

e. The name and rate of occurrence per pound of each kind of restricted noxious weed seed present singly or collectively in any amount whatsoever; provided, however, that the amount does not exceed 160 per pound in Group 1 and 10 per pound in Group 2. Except in lawn or turf seed, Poa Annua shall not exceed 256 per pound.

Group 1: Agropyron spp., Agrostis spp., alfalfa, Bermuda grass, Brassica spp., orchard grass, alsike and white clover, crimson clover, Dallis grass, fescues, flax, foxtail millet, lespedezas, poa spp., red clover, reed canary grass, Rhodes grass, rye-grass, sweet clover, smooth brome, timothy, and other agricultural seeds of similar size and weight, or mixtures within this group.

Group 2: Barley, buckwheat, oats, proso, rye, sorghums, Sudan grass, vetches, wheat and other agricultural seeds of a size and weight similar to or greater than those within this group, or any mixtures within this group.

f. Percentage by weight of agricultural seed (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. The calendar month and year the test was completed to determine the percentages.

Following subparagraphs 1. and 2. of this paragraph the "total germination and hard seed" may be stated as such, if desired.

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

...

(4) For vegetable seeds in containers of 1 pound or less:

a. Name of kind and variety of seed;

b. For seeds which germinate less than the standard last established by the Department under this chapter:

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 the percentages;

4. The words "below standard" in not less than 8-point type; and

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

(5) For vegetable seeds in containers of more than 1 pound:

a. The name of each kind and variety present in excess of 5% and the percentages by weight of each in order of its predominance;

b. Lot number or other lot identification;

c. For each named vegetable seed:

1. The percentage germination, exclusive of hard seed;

2. The percentage of hard seed, if present;

3. The calendar month and year the test was completed to determine the percentages.

Following subparagraphs 1. and 2. of this paragraph the "total germination and hard seed" may be stated as such if desired.

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

e. The labeling requirements for vegetable seeds in containers of more than 1 pound shall be deemed to have been met if the seed is weighed from a properly labeled container in the presence of the purchaser;

§ 1504 Prohibitions.

(a) No person shall sell, offer for sale, expose for sale, or transport for sale any agricultural, vegetable, flower or tree and shrub seeds within this State:

(1) If subject to the germination requirements of § 1502 of this title, unless the test to determine the percentage of germination required by § 1502 of this title shall have been completed within a 14-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;

(2) Not labeled in accordance with this chapter or having false or misleading labeling;

(3) Pertaining to which there has been false or misleading advertisement;

(4) Consisting of or containing prohibited noxious weed seeds, subject to recognized tolerances;

(5) Consisting of or containing restricted noxious weed seeds per pound in excess of the number prescribed under this chapter, or in excess of the number declared on the label attached to the container of the seed or associated with the seed subject to recognized tolerances;

(6) Containing more than 11/2% by weight of all weed seeds;

(7) Containing more than 20% by weight of inert matter in lawn and turf seed;

(8) To which there is affixed the names or terms that create a misleading impression as to the kind, kind and variety, history, productivity, quality, or origin of the seed;

(9) If any labeling, advertising or other representation subject to this chapter represents the seed to be certified or registered seed unless:

a. It has been determined by a seed certifying agency that the seed was produced, processed, and packaged, and conforms to the standards of purity as to kind, species (and subspecies, if appropriate), or variety, and also that tree seed was found to be of the origin and elevation claimed, in compliance with the rules and regulations of the agency; and

b. That the seed bears an official label issued by a seed certifying agency stating that the seed is certified or registered.

(b) It is unlawful for any person within this State to:

(1) Detach, alter, deface, or destroy any label provided for in this chapter or the rules and regulations made and promulgated thereunder, or to alter or substitute seed in a manner that may defeat the purposes of this chapter;

(2) Disseminate any false or misleading advertisements concerning seeds subject to this chapter in any manner or by any means;

(3) Hinder or obstruct in any way, any authorized person in the performance of his duties under this chapter;

(4) Fail to comply with a "stop sale" order or to move or otherwise handle or dispose of any lot of seed held under a "stop sale" order or tags attached thereto, except with express permission of the enforcing officer, and for the purpose specified;

(5) Use the word "trace" as a substitute for any statement which is required;

(6) Use the word "type" in any labeling in connection with the name of any agricultural seed variety.

§ 1506 Exemptions.

(a) The provisions of §§ 1502, 1503 and 1504 of this title do not apply:

(1) To seed or grain not intended for sowing purposes;

(2) To seed in storage in, or being transported, or consigned to a cleaning or processing establishment for cleaning or processing; provided, that the invoice or labeling accompanying any shipment of the seed bears the statement "seed for processing," and provided that any labeling or other representation which may be made with respect to the uncleaned or unprocessed seed shall be subject to this chapter;

(3) To any carrier in respect to any seed transported or delivered for transportation in the ordinary course of its business as a carrier; provided, that the carrier is not engaged in producing, processing or marketing seeds subject to this chapter;

(4) To seed sold by 1 farmer to another if the seed has neither been advertised for sale nor delivered through a carrier;

(5) To grain sold by farmers for cover crop purposes and not delivered through a common carrier.

(b) No person shall be subject to the penalties of this chapter for having sold or offered for sale seeds subject to this chapter which were incorrectly labeled or represented as to kind, species (and subspecies, if appropriate), variety, type or origin, elevation and year of collection (if required) which seeds cannot be identified by examination, unless he has failed to obtain an invoice, genuine grower’s or tree seed collector’s declaration or other labeling information and to take such other precautions as may be reasonable to insure the identity to be that stated.

(c) The provisions of §§ 1503 and 1505 of this title do not apply to tree seed produced by the consumer.