Organisation and structure

Swiss Federal Plant Protection Service (SPPS)

The Swiss Federal Plant Protection Service (SPPS) is operated jointly by the Federal Office for Agriculture (FOAG) and the Federal Office for the Environment (FOEN) and is responsible for ensuring the implementation of plant health legislation.

The SPPS is responsible at national level for preventing the introduction and spread of plant pests and diseases in Switzerland. The SPPS is also responsible for the early detection of new potential particularly dangerous pests.

In particular, the SPPS is active in the following areas:

  • For example, SPPS phytosanitary inspectors carry out daily import checks at Geneva and Zurich airports to verify the health status of plant products imported into Switzerland on a commercial basis or by travellers from non-EU countries.

  • The SPPS registers operators that are active in the production and/or trade of certain plant products (tree nurseries, seed producers, nurseries, producers of wood packaging material, etc.), and issues operators’ authorizations within the framework of plant health legislation (plant passport, ISPM15 marking). Through annual administrative and phytosanitary inspections of these operators, the SPPS verifies that the more than 1’000 authorized operators meet the authorization requirements and their obligations - such as the correct issue of plant passports and the absence of infestation of the plants produced and traded. Part of the inspections are carried out by external inspection organizations (Concerplant, Vitiplant, SZG, Swisssem / propagation organizations and SKSH) on behalf of the SPPS.

    Further information on trade in plant material

  • Together with the cantonal plant protection services and forest protection officers, the SPPS organizes annual surveillance programs to detect the occurrence of a pest or pathogen regulated as a quarantine pest as quickly as possible.

  • If a quarantine pest occurs in Switzerland, the SPPS shall establish the measures to eradicate or contain that pest. It also draws up appropriate contingency plans for this purpose. If infestation is detected in an authorized company, the SPPS is also responsible for carrying out or ordering control measures (outside these companies the canton is responsible).

    Further information on quarantine pests
    Further information on contingency planning

  • Based on the phytosanitary situation in Europe and in coordination with EU legislation, the SPPS further develops Swiss plant health legislation and coordinates its implementation at national level. In collaboration with Agroscope, the Swiss Federal Institute for Forest, Snow and Landscape Research (WSL), cantonal authorities and national and international organizations and associations, it develops strategies for monitoring and controlling regulated pests.

  • The SPPS also informs the cantons and professional organizations about the occurrence of quarantine pests, provides appropriate information material and trains the specialists.

Internationally, the SPPS is in close contact with the European Commission, the national plant protection services of the EU Member States, the European and Mediterranean Plant Protection Organization (EPPO) and the Secretariat of the International Plant Protection Convention (IPPC). Since Switzerland and the EU form a common phytosanitary area, and given the intensive exchange of goods with third countries (outside the EU), it is essential that there is a good exchange of knowledge and information in the phytosanitary field with other countries.

Agroscope and WSL

Agroscope is responsible for the scientific and technical aspects of plant health in the agricultural and commercial horticultural sector, while the Swiss Federal Institute for Forest, Snow and Landscape Research (WSL) is responsible for forestry matters.

Both research institutions carry out risk analyses, develop control strategies and are also involved in monitoring and import controls for quarantine organisms and other new harmful organisms.

The Agroscope and WSL laboratories are the official laboratories of the Swiss Federal Plant Protection Service (SPPS) and are known as the ‘SPPS diagnostic laboratories’. They carry out phytosanitary enforcement diagnostics on behalf of the FOAG and FOEN, which are both part of the SPPS. The National Reference Laboratories (NRL), located at Agroscope, act as the interface with the EU Reference Laboratories in the fields of virology, bacteriology, entomology, mycology and phytoplasmology.

External laboratories

In exceptional circumstances and subject to strict requirements, enforcement diagnostic services may be outsourced to external laboratories on application. To request the application form, please send an email to

Cantonal offices

The cantonal plant protection services and forest protection officers also make an important contribution to the protection of plant health in Switzerland. In particular, they are responsible for carrying out the annual surveillance programs for certain quarantine pests and for taking or ordering control measures in the case of occurrence of such a harmful organism in Switzerland (unless it concerns an authorized operator, see above).

Additional information

Last modification 10.07.2024

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Federal Office for Agriculture FOAG Swiss Federal Protection Plant Service SPPS
Schwarzenburgstrasse 165
3003 Bern
+41 58 462 25 50

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