The Prince Edward Island Potato Board has announced a new plan for potato disinfection on Prince Edward Island. This revised program was formed through collaboration with industry members and the Prince Edward Island Department of Agriculture and Fisheries as well as through independent scientific consultation.
The board states in a Dec. 17 media release that it believes that this plan meets the needs of potato farmers and addresses concerns voiced after previously announced changes to the potato disinfection program.
According to the release, the plan has the following main components:
1) Effective Jan. 1st, the P.E.I. Potato Board will take over responsibility for disinfection services offered at the Borden-Carleton Inspection Station. Disinfection services will be available at this location for any trucks moving potatoes. As a transition measure, provincial staff will assist with disinfection services at the Borden facility until March 31, 2016.
2) The P.E.I. Potato Board will host a series of workshops across the Island in January to provide potato farmers, packers and other industry partners with all of the necessary information to perform disinfection. These workshops will address biosecurity, bacterial ring rot (BRR), and practical approaches to achieving top-notch cleaning and disinfection on farms. A standard disinfection log book and certification form will be provided to farmers to record their disinfection activities as supporting documentation to the Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA) and other interested parties. Furthermore, support will be offered through the Canada-P.E.I. Growing Forward II programs to assist farmers with the purchase and installation of disinfection equipment.
3) Some private businesses have contacted the board to indicate their availability to provide third party disinfection services. These businesses will also be offered standard forms to record that disinfection services have been provided.
4) The P.E.I. Department of Agriculture and Fisheries, through the Plant Health Act, will retain regulatory responsibility for oversight of P.E.I. potato farms (both seed and non-seed) if BRR infection occurs.
5) The P.E.I. Department of Agriculture and Fisheries will continue to provide dedicated cleaning and disinfection services under contract with CFIA for potato wart regulated land.
According to the board, the Prince Edward Island potato industry worked with both levels of government over many years to bring bacterial ring rot to the point of functional eradication, and it is important that growers maintain on-farm biosecurity measures to protect against potential sources of infection.
CFIA regulations require that all trucks transporting bulk seed potatoes must be cleaned and disinfected before being loaded. The board states the new disinfection strategy will continue to meet these requirements and that buyers of P.E.I. seed potatoes can be reassured there will be no disruption in disinfection service and that P.E.I. potatoes will continue to meet or exceed federal regulations.
Greg Donald, the board’s general manager, states in the release that the plan “addresses our need to ensure biosecurity for our seed sector, the foundation of our Island potato industry. Through a collaborative approach with multiple experts and industry partners, we are pleased to arrive at a solution which maintains or enhances measures to prevent outbreaks of potato diseases such as bacterial ring rot.”
To learn more, visit the P.E.I. Potato Board.