The United States Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS) today announced that Canada is expected to soon resume exporting Prince Edward Island (PEI) table stock potatoes into the contiguous United States.
USDA says in a press release that as a result of the U.S. and Canada reaching an understanding about the risk of table stock potato imports from PEI, Canada will lift its ban while APHIS plans to publish a federal order outlining additional required mitigations to protect the U.S. potato industry.
USDA says it has determined PEI potatoes for consumption may only resume under specified conditions that will pose little risk of introducing potato wart disease into the United States. Potato wart is a soil-borne disease that reduces yield and marketability and for which there is no cure.
“USDA bases all our agricultural trade decisions on sound science,” Tom Vilsack, United States Secretary of Agriculture said. “We are confident that table stock potatoes can enter the United States with appropriate safeguards in place to ensure the U.S. potato industry remains protected.”
USDA requirements and Canadian Food Inspection Agency mitigations 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.
The 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 must be officially inspected by the national plant protection organization (NPPO) of Canada and certified as meeting USDA requirements.
In November, Canadian authorities voluntarily suspended exports of all potatoes for consumption and planting from PEI following a detection of potato wart disease. Potato wart is not known to occur in the U.S.
APHIS will continue to work with Canada to increase confidence in its long-term management plan for potato wart, specifically to finish processing remaining samples associated with recent detections, to expand surveillance of non-regulated fields in PEI, and to continue its national surveillance program.
Source: USDA/APHIS. Original release here
Photo: Courtesy CNW Group/Prince Edward Island Potato Board