‘Shocked’: Potato board says CFIA ban on P.E.I. potato exports to U.S. goes too far

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The PEI Potato Board says it is “surprised” that the Canadian Food Inspection Agency suspended the movement of all fresh potatoes from PEI into the United States in October, following the discovery of a potato wart on two separate island farms. Is.

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PEI Agriculture Minister Bloys Thompson will hold a news conference on the potato wart issue at 2 p.m. Monday, and representatives from the PEI Potato Board will be part of the news conference.

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The export of seed potatoes was suspended on 2 November. In a news release issued Monday morning, the CFIA announced the extended ban.

Potato warts spoil the potato and reduce the yield, so that the potato does not come in the market, but it is not a threat to human health.

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The ban does not include potatoes that have already been processed, such as frozen french fries. Before shipping, fresh potatoes should be brushed and washed to remove soil, which can carry fungus. Seed potatoes cannot be shipped outside the province.

The CFIA took action after the United States informed Canada that it would take action if Canada did not take voluntary measures.

‘We have to connect with America’

Federal Agriculture Minister Marie-Claude Bebeau said at a news conference Monday morning that a US federal order banning imports would go beyond the limits needed to reduce the risk of the spread, and would be more difficult to reverse.

“To resume business as quickly as possible, we must engage with the US about their concerns,” she said.

This is a purely politically based trade disruption that will limit trade in a year when potatoes are already in short supply.— PEI Potato Board

“We are taking a responsible approach that is based on science. It will protect our industry during this difficult time.”

The minister said he has asked the CFIA to “redouble” its efforts to work with the province and industry to stop the spread of potato warts on the island.

The Canadian government is working on a plan to support farmers affected by US market closures, the news release said.

The potato wart was first discovered on PEI in 2000, and has since been found in 33 areas, including farms in all three counties.

The fungus is extremely permanent and can take more than 40 years to completely leave the soil.

‘astonished’

The PEI Potato Board said it was “shocked” by the suspension, and that a plan to stop the spread was already in place within the province, developed by the CFIA.

The board said that the US exports $ 120 million annually.

It added that the fungi were found in areas already being regulated as part of the scheme, therefore already ineligible to be shipped outside the PEI.

“Since the discovery of potato wart in PEI in 2000, there has not been a single occurrence of potato wart in any market caused by Prince Edward Island potatoes, including the rest of the US and Canada,” the board said in a release. “

The board said the sanctions do not represent the wishes of most US buyers and stakeholders.

“This is purely a politically based trade disruption that will limit trade in a year when potatoes are already in short supply in North America and globally,” adding the suspension could destroy millions of kilograms of fresh potatoes. Huh.

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