Fruit & Vegetable Magazine

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CFIA completes P.E.I. potato wart investigation

August 23, 2023  By Fruit & Vegetable

As of Aug. 18, the Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA) has completed its investigation related to the two 2021 detections of potato wart in Prince Edward Island.

The CFIA accelerated its in-depth investigation to help contain, control and prevent the spread of potato wart and to maintain market access for P.E.I. potatoes, completing the investigation ahead of the September 2023 target date.

Over the course of the investigation, the CFIA collected and analyzed nearly 50,000 soil samples from fields in P.E.I. associated with recent detections. The investigation identified potato wart in four additional fields, which CFIA says is expected in investigations of this scale.

In these cases, and whenever potato wart is detected, land controls are put in place on individual fields to restrict the movement of potatoes, plants, soil and other articles that could result in the spread of potato wart. Throughout the fall, CFIA will continue to conduct surveillance activities in P.E.I., including the surveillance of selected fields not previously associated with potato wart.

The risks associated with the transmission of potato wart from fresh potatoes from P.E.I. remain negligible when appropriate risk mitigation measures are in place and followed. The Ministerial Order put in place on Nov. 21, 2021, remains in effect at this time as the CFIA continues to consult with industry about next steps including enhanced control measures, such as biosecurity and traceability activities. The data collected during the investigation and the additional surveillance will help inform the development of long-term programming to mitigate risk and support the economic sustainability of the potato sector in P.E.I. and across Canada.

The CFIA says that, while challenging, this investigation was essential for supporting one of Canada’s critical agricultural sectors and for demonstrating to domestic and international trading partners that Canada is committed to helping contain, control and prevent the spread of potato wart.

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