CFIA completes national potato wart survey ahead of schedule

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The Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA) has completed its national survey for potato wart ahead of schedule, the federal government says.

Potato wart was not detected.

The national survey conducted this fall involved soil testing across areas of Canada that grow seed potatoes (except Newfoundland) to confirm that unregulated areas of Canada remain free from this pest.

Two findings of potato wart in P.E.I. this fall fell under scrutiny of the U.S. Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS), and prompted the Canadian government to ban export of seed potatoes out of P.E.I. and table potatoes from the province to the U.S. on November 22.

APHIS is seeking clear scientific data in order to be assured that resuming trade is safe, says CFIA. The organization has also asked for “clear risk mitigation measures and an ongoing monitoring plan for a clearly-defined quarantined area.” Both countries also agreed to collaborate on the review being undertaken by APHIS on their pest risk assessment, which informs APHIS decisions on pest management.

“The expedited completion of the survey marks an important step in the Government of Canada’s action plan to reassure international trading partners of the safety of Canadian seed potatoes. It is also information that the United States (U.S.) is seeking, as part of its ongoing review of the CFIA’s containment and control of potato wart,” according to a Canadian government press release.

Results of the survey have been submitted to APHIS, CFIA says, and should “serve to provide reassurances they need that it is safe to resume the trade of fresh potatoes.”

The U.S. has also asked for findings from the CFIA investigation that prove appropriate mitigation measures are taken and that an ongoing monitoring plan exists for a clearly defined quarantined area for instances of potato wart.

Related:

Federal government commits $28 million to divert surplus P.E.I. potatoes

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