May 9, 2002
Japanese Barberry - The real truth

Contrary to popular belief, Japanese Barberry (Berberris thunbergii) is still prohibited entry into Canada (other than the immune species), and prohibited movement anywhere within Canada. Barberry, however, continues to grow throughout the country since the ban and local governments continue with their efforts to eradicate them from the countryside. However, imports or any attempts at distribution from any domestic source are prohibited by the regulations and non-compliance with these regulations will bring swift penalties under the AMPS Act.

     To bring everyone into the picture, the Directive has been finalized through a working partnership of Canadian Nursery Landscape Association (CNLA) and Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA) staff. The process was accelerated in 1998 when changes were made to the draft directive and CNLA was able to negotiate needed changes, which were workable for the industry.

     This Directive is now waiting for the Minister's signature. From there, it goes to Parliament for discussion and passage. CFIA has promised that this will be done by July of 2000. Following the amendments, a tag system must be developed as part of the CNLA participation within the new process as required by CFIA. These tags will be purchased by importers through CNLA and must be attached to all plants to provide tracking, inspection and certification of the nursery.

     As this is an amendment to federal regulations as well as amendments to domestic regulations, these changes must be passed by Parliament. All of the stakeholders have given their blessings, including all interested governmental departments.

     One beneficial change is that imports need no longer be used for mother blocks only. Plants are to be kept in a segregated place for up to 12 weeks until the CFIA has inspected them. It is required that they be correctly labeled, that tracking to the grower is available, and that they have been reproduced by clonal propagation only. Propagation from seeds is pro­hi­bited and compliance will be strictly enforced using AMPS.

     Proof of resistance to Black Stem Wheat Rust must be provided with documentation from the Cereal Rust Lab in Minnesota, USA. Any species tested prior to 1990 must be retested before approval will be given by CFIA.