North America

CFIA to boost staff numbers in effort to ‘accelerate’ potato wart investigation on Prince Edward Island

Stu Neatby reports for Saltwire Network that a $12-million influx of federal dollars will help the Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA) to boost staffing in Prince Edward Island and speed up its investigation into the spread of potato wart that prompted an 18-week lockout of P.E.I. fresh potatoes from the U.S. market.

In an email to SaltWire Network on April 15, a representative of the federal agency said the new funding will allow the hiring of 35 new full-time staff, including 25 based in P.E.I. The $12-million allocation was contained in the 2022 federal budget released earlier this month.

“The overall goal is to prevent spread of potato wart within P.E.I. and across Canada, minimize the impact to the P.E.I. potato industry and increase and maintain market access,” read the email from the agency.

Speaking before a meeting of P.E.I.’s standing committee on natural resources and environmental sustainability on April 7, Gordon Henry, CFIA’s national manager of the potato section, said many of the new hires will collect soil samples in fields. He said the agency also plans to double the number of staff working in the CFIA’s Charlottetown lab, bringing staff numbers to between 17 and 20.

Source: Saltwire Network. Read the full report here
Photo: Courtesy and credit Stu Neatby/Saltwire Network

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