Guide to Seed Potato Diseases, Pests and Defects

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Seed potato certification is the process of assuring the quality of seed potatoes being marketed, usually done nationally according to regulated standards. Planting healthy seed potatoes is a key factor in maximizing the production of usable potatoes for consumption or processing. The United Nations Economic Commission for Europe (UNECE) has drawn up an international-reference quality Standard for Seed Potatoes to help producers do exactly this.

The Standard sets out a common terminology and minimum requirements for certifying high-quality seed potatoes for international trade. It covers:

  • varietal identity and purity
  • genealogy and traceability
  • diseases and pests
  • external tuber quality and physiology
  • sizing and labelling.


The Guide provides a pictorial reference to pests and diseases affecting potato quality as an aid to using the Standard.

The Guide is intended to assist seed potato inspectors and producers in assessing seed potato quality, in conjunction with the use of the Standard.

The Guide is not an exhaustive list of pests and pathogens of potatoes. It focuses on the most common faults relevant to seed potato production and trade.

When using the Standard, emphasis is placed on the visual assessment of faults by the inspector at the point of control. Normally, inspectors should be able to pass or fail lots based only on a visual assessment.

Agricultural Standards Unit UNECE
United Nations Economic Commission for Europe