Canada says no potato wart found, could pave way for US exports to resume

Written by on December 24, 2021

December 24, 2021

OTTAWA (Reuters) – Canada has found no more evidence of a fungus in fresh potatoes, which could allow exports to the United States from the province of Prince Edward Island to resume, the Canadian Food Inspection Agency said on Friday.

Canada halted shipments in November after confirming the fungus on two farms in October, the first in 21 years. The United States had said it would ban all imports of fresh potatoes from the province unless Canada took further action.

In response, the CFIA carried out a national survey which detected no potato wart in non-quarantined areas. This, it said, was information Washington had demanded.

“(This) was provided to the U.S. Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service earlier today, and should serve to provide reassurances they need that it is safe to resume the trade of fresh potatoes,” the CFIA said in a statement.

The CFIA said it had quarantined the two farms and was taking appropriate mitigation measures.

“The trade in potatoes from non-quarantined fields is safe and does not pose a risk to pest-free areas,” it said.

No one from the U.S. Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service was immediately available for comment. Friday is a public holiday in the United States.

Potato wart can decrease crop yields but poses no threat to human health or food safety, the CFIA says.

Prince Edward Island grew about 20% of the national harvest in 2020. The crop is worth more than C$1 billion ($781 million)annually to the province’s economy.

(Reporting by David Ljunggren; editing by Barbara Lewis)


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