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CFIA potato wart probe finally over, but P.E.I. seed potato export ban continues

Nearly two years after the U.S. market was closed to Prince Edward Island potato sales, the Canadian Food Inspection Agency has completed an investigation sparked by the detection of potato wart in two Island fields back in 2021.

As Carolyn Ryan reports for CBC News, over the course of the investigation, CFIA staff collected and analyzed nearly 50,000 soil samples from fields associated with those detections of the fungus, which disfigures potatoes and sharply reduces crop yield but is not harmful to humans. 

That process led to potato wart being identified in four additional fields, which agency officials said was not unexpected in investigations of this scale.

“There’s still some work to do,” said Lynn MacVicar, the P.E.I. director of operations with CFIA, shortly after the agency announced its investigation was at an end. 

However, a federal ministerial order restricting the export of seed potatoes from P.E.I. remains in effect. The P.E.I. Potato Board says it’s optimistic that negotiations to lift that order will start as soon as possible.

Source: CBC News. Read the full story here
Photo: Bags of Prince Edward Island potatoes are unloaded from a transport truck on Parliament Hill on Dec. 8, 2021, as the P.E.I. Potato Board lobbied for the export ban to end. (Adrian Wyld/The Canadian Press)

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