General Standards Section 24

Section 24. Containers, Tags, and Labels

Seed of all certified classes, when offered for sale in bags or other containers of any size, shall bear an official certification label on each container. The official certification label shall clearly identify the certifying agency. The seed lot number or other identification number, the kind and the variety name shall appear on the official label and/or on the container in a position to be viewed in conjunction with the official label. Labeling will vary with different types of containers, but in all instances, labels shall be attached to containers in a manner that prevents removal and re-attachment.

Certified seed may be packaged and sold in a variety of containers. Certified seed may not be sold in packages or bags which have been used before unless they are thoroughly cleaned, of good appearance, and have contained only seed of the same variety.  CCIA must be contacted for approval before packaging in a used container.

24.1   Bulk containers are sold to the grower using a Bulk Sale Certificate. Examples of bulk seed containers are:

  1. Train car or truck trailer
  2. Large bin or tote

A Bulk Sale Certificate is available after logging into the members only section.

24.2  Packaged containers are sealed and sold to the grower using a tag or label. There must be a means of attaching a certification tag or label in a manner which prevents tampering. Examples of packaging are:

  1. Bags - cloth, poly, or paper
  2. Tins
  3. Totes
  4. Cartons

24.3   Certificates, Tags, and Labels.

  1. Certificates
    1. Bulk Sale Certificate. Certified seed may be sold to a grower in bulk for planting. A 'Bulk Sale Certificate' is issued and becomes the certification label. This certificate when completed by the seed conditioner or dealer must accompany the bulk shipment. The certificate must be filled out fully in order to be a valid certification document. The Bulk Sale Certificate is only to be used for sales to the end user and not to be used for wholesale transactions between dealers. A Bulk Sale Certificate is available after logging into the members only section. If certified seed is sold or delivered in bulk by one dealer to another for resale, a Seed Transfer Certificate is the proper document to use; this is also available after logging into the members only section.
    2. OECD Certificates. A certificate is issued from the CCIA to the requestor as documentation required by the OECD Seed Certification Scheme that a certain lot of seed has met the OECD and the CCIA certification standards.
  2. Tags and labels - Tags are attached to the packages by sewing or stapling. Labels are pressure sensitive and pressed onto  the package.
    1. Certified Seed Tag or Label. Each container of certified seed must have an official certification tag affixed as provided or approved by the CCIA. Certified seed may also be identified when sold in bulk by a 'Bulk Sale Certificate' (refer to section 25.3.a.1 a Bulk Sale Certificate). The classes of certified seed are differentiated by the use of different colored tags:
      • Foundation seed - white tags
      • Registered seed - purple tags
      • Certified seed - blue tags
    2. OECD tags are required for certified seed moving to countries requesting certification in the OECD Seed Certification Scheme. These tags are colored as noted below:
      • Pre-basic seed - white with a purple diagonal stripe tags
      • Basic seed - white tags
      • Certified seed - blue tags
      • Not Finally Certified seed - gray tags
  3. Types of tags or labels
    1. Lot specific tags or labels. These are tags printed by the CCIA office for an individual lot of seed. They will be imprinted with the variety name, kind, certification number and lot number. These tags include a series number and are sent directly to the conditioners in good standing. If the conditioner is not in good standing, the tags may be sent to the Agricultural Commissioner of the county where the seed conditioner is located.
    2. Serial numbered variety tags or labels. These tags are preprinted by CCIA with a variety name, kind, series letter, and serial number. These tags allow their placement on any lot of the particular variety. The conditioner must account for every tag with a tag record. The tag record must show the certification number, lot number used on, and corresponding serial numbers from the tags used. These tags should be used in ascending order. The tag record will be reviewed by the CCIA during the annual audit.
    3. Serial numbered unprinted tags. These tags are preprinted with only a series letter and serial number. The conditioner must print the variety name and kind on the tag but must keep a record of every tag. The tag record must show the variety, kind, certification number, lot number, and serial numbers of tags used for each lot of seed certified. These tags should be used in ascending order. The tag record will be reviewed by the CCIA.
    4. OECD tags. These tags are issued only for lots of seed requesting certification under the OECD Seed Certification Scheme. The OECD tags are issued by CCIA for each lot of seed in the shipment. The conditioner must account for all tags. All voided or extra tags must be held and will be requested to be returned during the conditioner audit.

24.4   Labels & Label Requirements except as provided in the commodity standards all official seed certification labels must meet the color and other specifications approved by the Association of Official Seed Certifying Agencies (AOSCA).

  1. The label shall be rectangular with length to width ratio of approximately two to one. Clipped or rounded corners, eyelets, patches and tear-off portions are optional.
  2. Label colors
    1. Face side and Reverse side:                                    
      • Breeder or Foundation seed - white
      • Registered - light purple from choice of Pantone Matching System numbers 251C, 256C, 257C, 263C, 264C, 270C
      • Certified seed - light blue from choice of Pantone Matching System numbers 278C, 283C, 284C, 290C, 291C, 297C
    2. Duplex stock is permitted. If used, the colors for the face side, as shown above, shall be used. The reverse side shall be another shade of the same color within the specified PMS range.
    3. In the manufacturing of label stock, if colors other than a shade of the color of the label or black are used in agencies’ logos or emblems or for outlining, such colors shall be used sparingly so as not to interfere with recognition of the label as a certification label.
    4. In the manufacturing of label stock, if darker colors are used as background to enhance lettering, black shall be used on Breeder or Foundation labels, purple shall be used on Registered labels and blue shall be used on Certified labels.
  3. Format of face side of label
    1. Top Line: The name of the respective seed class shall be printed across the top of the Label as follows:                                    
      • ‘BREEDER (or) FOUNDATION SEED’ on white label
      • ‘REGISTERED SEED’ on purple label
      • ‘CERTIFIED SEED’ on blue label
    2. Center Area: The issuing certifying agency shall identify itself on the face side of the label. The remainder of the area may be used by the issuing certifying agency for such information as kind of seed, variety, serial or lot number etc.
    3. Bottom Line: The following shall be printed on the bottom line of the label: ‘Member of the Association of Official Seed Certifying Agencies’.
  4. Format of reverse side of label. No format is specified for the reverse side of the label. Certifying agencies may use this side for any purpose of their choice.                       
Updated October 2022 Next Section