ISF Regulated Pest List

The ISF regulated pest list database is updated as and when more pest lists are completed, or new information is available. It is not expected that changes will be notified. In case of any litigation, ISF will not be held liable for the use of the database.


The ISF Regulated Pest List Initiative (RPLI) was launched in 2007 with the aim of creating a knowledge-based database on pests that are regulated on internationally traded seed species, that can be referenced when evaluating phytosanitary risk. Information in the database is based on a review of the scientific literature to determine if seed is a pathway and the experience of the seed industry in managing those pests.


The RPLI provides a publicly available database of extensive review of scientific data on pests that are regulated on seeds to facilitate data-driven decisions for assessing and managing phytosanitary risk. We aim to facilitate the harmonization of phytosanitary requirements for seed and strive to gain broad recognition of the information provided in the database as a key resource of scientifically verified knowledge of pests for which seed is pathway.


The main goal of the database is to determine if seed is a pathway for introduction and spread of a pest based on a thorough scientific assessment. A seed pathway is defined as the ability of a pest carried by the seed internally or externally to transfer from this seed to the seedling and to cause disease in this crop. This is aligned with the international standard ISPM 38 – International movement of seeds.

The information provided for each regulated pest is based on a review of the scientific literature with the support of the industry’s knowledge and experience and follows the guidance of the international standards. The potential for a pest to be transmitted via seed directly to the seedling and to cause disease in the crop is assessed, taking into consideration its biological and epidemiological characteristics. Information on pest management practices (including detection methods) based on the knowledge and experience of the seed industry are provided when necessary.

Information on whether a pest is regulated is obtained from national import requirements databases of seed companies and National Plant Protection Organisations (NPPOs). Types of pests listed in the database include bacteria, chromista, fungi, insects, mites, mollicutes (spiroplasmas, phytoplasmas), nematodes, oomycetes, viroids and viruses. Invasive plants and noxious weeds are not included in this database.


The RPLI has a clear process for the development of its crop-specific regulated pest lists and the review of existing ones. The database is a work in progress. Regulated pest lists for seed crops are added and existing crop-specific lists are reviewed at regular intervals.

The assessment of each crop-specific regulated pest list is processed independently and externally reviewed with rigour to ensure quality information and referencing, by plant pathologist experts on the crop. The assessment of the ISF regulated pest list follows the principles of the International Standards for Phytosanitary Measures (ISPM) guidelines.

Assessments are based on scientific evidence by conducting a literature review and the industry’s knowledge and experience. One important aspect of the assessment is the evidence of a pest causing infestation on the crop species in accordance with ISPM 38 – International movement of seeds. A pest that has been proven to be seed-transmitted in one host is not necessarily seed transmitted in all known hosts (ISPM 38). In accordance with ISPM 11 – Pest risk analysis for quarantine pests, pests and their hosts are recommended to be assessed at the species level unless there is technical justification for using a higher or lower taxonomic level.

A pest is defined as any species, strain or biotype of plant, animal or pathogenic agent injurious to plants or plant products and a host is a species capable of sustaining a specific pest or another organism (ISPM 05). Pests associated with seed can be classified as seed-borne, which include seed-transmitted pests, or contaminants and are defined as follows:

A seed-borne pest is a pest that is carried by seeds externally or internally that may or may not be transmitted to plants grown from seeds, causing their infestation (ISPM 38).

A seed-transmitted pest is a seed-borne pest that is transmitted via seeds directly to plants grown from these seeds, causing their infestation (ISPM 38).

A contaminating pest is a pest that is present in a seed lot (including seeds of plants as pests)  (ISPM 38).

Regulated pests of a crop species are classified into five categories:

Yes, seed is a known pathway for the pest on the crop species.

No, seed is not known to be or known to not be a pathway for the pest on the crop species.

Uncertain, Seed as a pathway for the pest on the crop species is not certain because the evidence is limited, doubtful, or conflicting.

Not a host, no references found indicating that the crop is a natural host for the pest.

Not applicable, an assessment could not be conducted at genus/family level since not all species within a genus/family share identical transmission characteristics, for species complex since not all the sub-species may have the same host range or for pest names that are obsolete.


Industry takes great care in producing seeds free from pests, for their customers worldwide. Pest management during seed production is the main focus. Not only for pests for which seed is a known pathway, but also for pests that could affect the mother plants. 

Seed health testing is one of many strategies to manage pests. Some widely used other examples are choice of production location, field monitoring, use of resistant varieties, seed disinfection and treatments and hygiene measures applied throughout the seed production process. Companies implement a combination of different practices in line with ISPM 38 – International movement of seeds. Effective management can often be achieved without the use of a seed health test.  

Seed has been confirmed to be a pathway for a limited number of pests (see database). Today, many countries have requirements for pests for which there is no scientific evidence that seed is a pathway. In these cases, seed health tests (see ISF International Seed Health Initiative) may be developed by the industry to fulfill import requirements.


The following are the crop-specific regulated pest lists that are currently available in the database.
Species Crop First publication Last revised
Abelmoschus esculentus Okra June 2022 Not applicable
Allium cepa Onion August 2013 To be revised
Brassica spp. Brassica September 2017 To be revised
Capsicum annuum Pepper March 2013 To be revised
Citrullus lanatus Watermelon September 2017 To be revised
Cucumis melo Melon April 2014 To be revised
Cucumis sativus Cucumber March 2013 To be revised
Cucurbita spp. Squash and pumpkin February 2016 To be revised
Daucus carota Carrot February 2016 To be revised
Lactuca sativa Lettuce August 2015 To be revised
Phaseolus vulgaris Bean April 2018 To be revised
Pisum sativum Pea September 2023 Not applicable
Solanum lycopersicum Tomato August 2018 Under revision
Solanum melongena Eggplant May 2021 Not applicable
Spinacia oleracea Spinach April 2014 To be revised
Zea mays Maize Sept 2021 Not applicable


The database is a “living document” subject to periodic review and updates based on feedback from users and changes in national phytosanitary regulations for seed. Your feedback is welcome. If you think some of the information related to a pest is incorrect or incomplete or needs updating, please send feedback by clicking here. It will be used to improve the database, if deemed necessary.