Exports of Prince Edward Island table-stock potatoes to the United States are resuming effective immediately.
The Canada Food Inspection Agency halted shipments of seed and and table-stock potatoes to the United States last November after potato wart had been discovered in two fields on the island. Wart is a soil-borne fungus (Synchytrium endobioticum) that reduces yields and disfigures potatoes, thereby making them unmarketable, but poses no health risk to humans.
In December, the CFIA and the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service completed pest risk analyses and concluded that the trade of PEI table stock potatoes could be done safely. This resulted in APHIS allowing imports of PEI table stock potatoes to Puerto Rico to resume in February.
Based on the success of that limited reopening of the U.S. market, the CFIA announced last week that it would be lifting its ban on exporting PEI table or eating potatoes — but not seed or processing potatoes — with conditions. Likewise, APHIS amended its requirements for the importation of table potatoes under specified conditions that will pose little risk of introducing potato wart disease into the U.S.
Conditions for Importation
CFIA and APHIS mitigations now require that imported table stock potatoes from PEI and the seed potatoes used to produce them must “originate from fields not known to be infested with potato wart or associated with known infestations.”
Additionally, table stock potatoes must be washed in PEI to remove soil, treated with a sprout inhibitor, and graded to meet the U.S. No 1 standard. Shipments also must be officially inspected by the North American Plant Protection Organization and certified as meeting USDA requirements.