Among the 11,082 samples processed from Prince Edward Island (P.E.I.) fields between July 1, 2022, and the end of September 30, 2022, inspectors from the Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA) discovered yet another incidence of potato wart.
Additionally, testing between October 7, 2021, of last year and March 4, 2022, produced a positive result. The CFIA had gathered 29,708 samples for examination and processed 19,952 as of September 30, 2022.
“CFIA investigations into the recent 2021/2022 PEI potato wart findings follow the Potato Wart Domestic Long-Term Management Plan requirements. We are working diligently to complete the investigations as quickly as possible. Given the scope and the number of associated fields, investigations will continue into 2023 until all samples are collected and analyzed. The CFIA has prioritized the highest-risk fields so we can obtain and share this information as quickly as possible. By the end of March 2023, the CFIA anticipates it will have analyzed 35,000 samples from the ongoing investigations. Following this, the CFIA will focus attention on completing the remaining samples,” the CFIA experts wrote.
According to the Island Farmer, tablestock exports south of the border were suspended from November 22 to early April of this year due to the discovery of the two incidents in October of last year. Due to this, millions of pounds of potatoes were processed by snow blowers while growers only received a small portion of what they would have received on the open market.
Spuds must be cleaned, as stated in the U.S. federal directive that was issued in April and permitted the resumption of tablestock shipments. Previously, they may either be washed or dry brushed. Additionally, they must achieve the U.S. Number 1 standard; the Number 2 grade standard is no longer allowed.
All potatoes must be given a spout inhibitor treatment, and the name of the inhibitor used and the date of administration must be noted on the shipping documentation. In the past, potatoes harvested more than 30 days ago qualified for an exemption. Additionally, according to the Potato Wart Domestic Long-Term Management Plan, potatoes going to the United States can only be purchased from fields that are uncontrolled or where all limitations relating to the potato wart have been eliminated.
The U.S. has stated that until all of the testings is finished, it will not take any Island seed potatoes. Since the Americans have also said they won’t accept merchandise from other Canadian provinces that use Island seed, this has essentially put an end to the Island seed sector.