Farmers in Prince Edward Island got the all-clear Friday from the U.S. Department of Agriculture to resume export of table potatoes to the U.S. The USDA Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS) issued its final federal order on P.E.I. potato imports on Friday, clearing the way for exports to resume after a crippling four-month export ban on Island potatoes.
The Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA) said in a news release that it welcomes the news, but notes that field grown seed potatoes from P.E.I. may not be exported to the U.S. at this time.
CFIA issued the following statement on Friday:
CFIA staff worked tirelessly for several months to provide the scientific evidence the U.S. requested and to reassure them that PEI potatoes for consumption are safe for trade. Resolving this issue has been a top priority for CFIA and APHIS, who were both committed to scientific integrity underpinning their technical discussions and risk assessments.
The Agency worked closely with APHIS to discuss and review the updates to the phytosanitary risk mitigation measures in the U.S. Federal Order. The order has now been posted and requires:
- Potatoes for export and seed potatoes used to produce them must originate from fields not known to be infested with potato wart or associated with known infestations.
- Potatoes must be washed in PEI to remove soil, treated with a sprout inhibitor, and graded to meet the U.S. No 1 standard (equivalent to Canada No 1).
- Shipments must be officially inspected and certified as meeting USDA requirements.
- All potato shipments must have traceability from the production site, to packing, to export, allowing a full trace-back and recall.
- Potatoes must be treated with a sprout inhibitor that is registered with Canada’s Pest Management Regulatory Agency and consignments must be accompanied by a statement on the export documentation detailing the treatment.
- Potatoes must be free of soil upon inspection at the port of entry.
The CFIA is now preparing to certify exports to the U.S. as quickly as possible.
Source: Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA). Original release from the Chief Plant Health Officer here.
Photo: A farmer works a potato field in North Tryon, Prince Edward Island. Courtesy and credit: The Canadian Press/Andrew Vaughan
Related: U.S. authorities issue final order allowing P.E.I. table potatoes back over border