Potato warts have been found in several PEI forms


Charlottetown, PEI –

The Canadian government has announced Monday that it will suspend all fresh potatoes from the province to the United States after the fungus was discovered growing recently on two potato farms on Prince Edward Island.

Meanwhile, the Potato Authority of the province has called the federal government’s order politically motivated and warned that it will result in the destruction of hundreds of millions of pounds of good potatoes.

Federal Agriculture Minister Marie-Claude Bibau told reporters Monday that the United States did not leave Canada with too much choice.

“It is clear that the US imposes a federal order banning the import of all fresh PEI potatoes unless Canada acts first to suspend trade,” the minister said. If Canada did not “voluntarily” order, the US would impose its own order, which would be “more difficult to reverse.”

“This is undoubtedly a tough day and my heart goes out to the PEI farmers, but we will roll up our sleeves and work together and show the US and the world that PEI fresh potatoes are high quality and totally safe,” Bibue said. Virtual news conference.

Known as the potato warts, the fungal parasite spreads through the movement of infected potatoes, soil and agricultural equipment. It poses no risk to human health but greatly reduces the yield of potato crops. In October, the Potato Warbler was found on two PEI farms, which have been in addition to fungal detection in the province’s 33 potato fields since 2000.

David Bailey, chief plant health officer at the Canadian Food Inspection Agency, told reporters on Monday that potato warts have existed in some continents for more than a century and have been dormant in a field for 40 years.

Gard Henry, national manager of the Federal Department of Potato, said the potato potato warts were most affected by the two PEI fields this year, with no fungus detected in previous years during regular inspections.

On November 2, the Canadian Food Inspection Agency stopped shipping seed potatoes from the PEI to the US, and Monday’s order extended export restrictions to include all fresh potatoes. The order does not apply to processed potatoes, such as frozen products such as French fries.

Bibeau clarified that the restrictions do not prevent the export of potatoes to PEI domestically or to countries other than the US and that the potatoes produced in other Canadian provinces are not affected by the measures.

Prince Edward Island’s potato board issued a statement Monday saying it was shocked by the agency’s decision. The board says it represents 175 farms across the province that grow a quarter of the Canadian potato.

“The United States market represents $ 120 million annually for the Prince Edward Island potato industry,” the board wrote, preventing the spread of the fungus through a program developed by the country’s Food Inspection Agency.

“Since the potato warts were discovered in PEI in 2000, no potato warts have been found in any of the markets, including the rest of the USA and Canada, leading to Prince Edward Island potatoes,” the board wrote. “We have faith in this project, and so should our government that developed it.”

The Board said that the risk of spreading potato potatoes from the export of fresh potatoes was negligible because, according to trade rules, potatoes should be washed and treated with seedlings. It said the agency’s mandate was politically based, and that, if the decision was not reversed, it would result in the destruction of hundreds of millions of pounds of good quality fresh potatoes.

November 22, 2021.

– by Kevin Bissett in Fredericton.

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