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National Seed Health Accreditation Pilot Program: quality management systems approaches to reducing the risk of CGMMV in cucurbit seed

Tracy Bruns: Iowa State University

<div>The risk of introducing plant pathogens by seed movement is a critical issue in agriculture. To help fulfill the mission of USDA-APHIS to protect U.S. agriculture, the National Seed Health Accreditation Pilot Program (NSHAPP), has been authorized by USDA-APHIS. NSHAPP is a voluntary program for cucurbit seed importers, administered by the National Seed Health System at Iowa State University Seed Science Center. NSHAPP aims to prevent the introduction of <em>C</em><em>ucumber green mottle mosaic virus</em> (CGMMV) into the U.S. by organizing the testing of imported seeds. Since 2015, out of over 11,000 lots of imported cucurbit seed, less than 0.4% of samples have tested positive. Consistent with global discussions on the impact of quality management systems on the risk of pathogen movement with seeds, this program is taking steps to recognize systems approaches to reducing the risk of CGMMV in cucurbit seed. As the systems approach format is refined, the program will be incorporated into a larger framework being developed by USDA-APHIS, called the Regulatory Framework for Seed Health (ReFreSH). A risk assessment has been completed for CGMMV in cucurbit seed production that will aid in the evaluation of quality management system impacts on the risk of CGMMV in seed. This approach may provide an alternative to testing for seeds produced with minimal risk of CGMMV contamination. This program is intended to serve as a model for the broader regulatory framework for seedborne pathogens.</div>