Quality control


What was founded in 1923 as a voluntary inspection service for narcissi has now become the inspection service for all flower bulb crops: the Flower Bulb Inspection Service (BKD) in Lisse.


The Flower Bulb Inspection Service (BKD) is an independent administrative body supervised by the Ministry of Agriculture, Nature and Food Quality. This ministry has designated the BKD as the authority for inspecting the quality of all flower bulb crops in the Netherlands. The BKD can thus be considered the “guardian of the quality of flower bulbs”.

By 1923, daffodil bulbs were subject to voluntary inspection, but this inspection had no official basis. Since 1980, however, the BKD has a legal basis for its quality inspections: the Agricultural Quality Act (LKW) and the Agricultural Quality Decree (LKB). By means of certain amendments in the LKW and LKB that became effective as of September 2007, the ministry has attempted to simplify this legislation. The LKW is mainly involved with implementing European legislation and provides frameworks for additional legislation. The new LKB provides basic principles for introducing further legislation within a ministerial regulation: an Agricultural Quality Regulation (LKR). An LKR can be amended easily by the minister if European legislation makes this necessary.

The BKD itself is authorised to prepare an inspection regulation that then requires the approval of the ministry. This will then serve as the basis for drawing up the implementation guidelines for the inspections.
The BKD inspects flower bulbs for both quality and for evidence of diseases requiring quarantine. The BKD carries out inspections and laboratory research. The inspector’s expertise is of crucial importance in conducting inspections; through the utilisation of such measures as the provision of instructions, the issuing of guarantees, and the implementation of audits, the BKD strives to maintain a uniform level of inspection. The BKD is has been accredited by the Dutch Accreditation Council to conduct its inspections (ISO 17020 accreditation) and to conduct its laboratory research (ISO 17025 accreditation).

For certain crops, the quality inspections involve not only a field inspection but also a testing of specimens. This testing of specimens applies only if the grower is striving to achieve a higher class than the lowest one (ST, or standard) or if he wishes to use his stock for propagation.

Testing of specimens for a higher class than ST involves assessing the bulb, corm or tuber specimens taken by the BKD. These specimens are planted at the BKD location and then assessed. This testing can apply to such crops as irises, gladioli, tulips, species crocus and Muscari armeniacum. The findings of this specimen testing determine the highest achievable class.

In addition, lilies that are selected to be used as propagating material are subjected to ELISA testing for the presence of viruses. A certification system is used to determine that lilies are free of viruses.
The BKD inspects propagating material and saleable products sold as dry sales or in the floristry trade both in the Netherlands and abroad.

The Flower Bulbs Quality Mark Foundation Holland commissions the BKD to conduct inspections of harvested flower bulbs at trading companies that distribute these bulbs for sale to consumers. Participating companies can then sell their products under a quality mark.
When phytosanitary inspections made by the Dutch Plant Protection Service (PD) were transferred to the inspection services on 1 September 2007, the BKD also started conducting the import and export inspections of flower bulbs to be transported to any non-EU country. The BKD contributes to improving the quality of flower bulbs in the Netherlands and to increasing the opportunities for exporting flower bulbs to countries throughout the world!