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CFIA, USDA revise potato guidelines

May 8, 2008  By Canadian Food Inspection Agency

potatoesMay 8, 2008, Ottawa, Ont. – Alberta spuds can once again be exported into the U.S. following a recent deal between the CFIA and the USDA.

May 8, 2008, Ottawa, Ont. – The Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA) and the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) have modified guidelines to allow for the continued trade of potatoes should there be future detections of potato cyst nematodes (PCN) in either the United States or Canada.

As part of the revised export certification requirements, all fields used to produce seed potatoes for trade between Canada and the U.S. must be soil sampled using a full field grid pattern. As a result, the previous sampling technique – the perimeter sampling approach – no longer meets the agreed-upon requirements.


All potato shipments between the two countries must also include a phytosanitary certificate with an additional declaration confirming that the seed potatoes originated from fields tested and found free of potato cyst nematodes.

CFIA and USDA's Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS) revised the guidelines in response to the golden nematode detection in the province of Alberta in the fall of 2007. If Canada meets all of the requirements of the revised guidelines, some Alberta seed potatoes from the 2007 crop could be eligible for export to the United States.

The golden nematode and the potato cyst nematode are recognized internationally as quarantine plant pests; however they do not pose a threat to human health. If left uncontrolled, these pests have the potential to cause significant damage to potato crops. Potatoes and tomatoes are the principal crops of economic importance that are attacked by these pests. The economic impact of these nematodes can be high due to crop losses, pest management expenses and market access interruptions.

See the article in the Edmonton Journal .

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