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U.S. Potato Industry Concerned about Future Canadian Disease Threats

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Potato industry groups in the United States are concerned about how Canada will handle future disease threats following last year’s discovery of potato wart in Prince Edward Island, a letter wrote by 14 potato organizations says.

The letter was sent to the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) Deputy Secretary Osama El-Lissy to thank him and the USDA for their rapid response after the Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA) detected potato wart in two fields of seed potatoes on a P.E.I. farm last year.

Since the discovery CFIA has found no additional infected potato plants and felt comfortable lifting their voluntary suspension of exports to the U.S. However, the group says in the letter there has been a lack of clear answers from the CFIA about what changes they will make moving forward to reduce the chance of it happening again.

The group specifically wants to know how CFIA will use this incident to modify or enhance the annual reporting required for P.E.I. in regard to this ongoing disease issue. They also want to know what additional investigations will be required in P.E.I. to ensure the threat of potato wart is minimized. And the group wants to know if the CFIA will do ongoing surveys of potatoes from P.E.I. seed as no domestic exports were halted.

The letter was signed by National Potato Council, Colorado Potato Administrative Committee, Empire State Potato Growers, Idaho Grower Shippers Association, Idaho Potato Commission, Maine Potato Board, Potato Growers of Michigan, North Carolina Potato Association, Northern Plains Potato Growers Association, Oregon Potato Commission, Pennsylvania Co-Operative Potato Growers, Virginia Potato and Vegetable Growers Association, Washington State Potato Commission, and Wisconsin Potato & Vegetable Growers Association.

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