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CFIA: Potato wart investigation could take until 2023

An official from the Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA) says the investigation into the discovery of potato wart in two P.E.I. fields could take until 2023 to complete. As Nancy Russell reports for CBC News, a group from CFIA made a presentation Friday afternoon to members of the legislature’s standing committee on natural resources.

Committee chair Cory Deagle was so taken aback by the mention of 2023 he asked the presenter to repeat what he had just said. Chief Plant Health Officer David Bailey is one of the CFIA scientists meeting with scientists from the U.S., and reiterated the investigation could take more than another year to complete.

“The CFIA is pulling out all the stops to complete the investigation into these detections, and we’re moving as quickly as possible. But this is a science-based exercise with our United States counterparts, and it takes time,” Bailey said.

“Given the scope of the investigation, this compounds the time question. And so, they may not be ready, and I want to underscore, may not be ready, may is an important word here, before 2023.”

Bailey told the committee it will take time for investigators to collect all the information the Americans are looking for to satisfy them that it is safe to start shipping P.E.I. potatoes south of the border again. The CFIA said that’s because hundreds of fields adjacent to and associated with the two infected fields now have to be tested, and the race is on as the winter freeze approaches.

Source: CBC News. Read the full story here
Cover image: A technical briefing with CFIA officials took MLAs through the various stages of potato wart disease | CFIA via CBC

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