WASHINGTON, D.C. — The Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA) today announced it has completed its investigation related to the 2021 detections of potato wart in Prince Edward Island (PEI). National Potato Council CEO Kam Quarles issued the following statement on the update:
“The U.S. potato industry welcomes reports that CFIA has fulfilled its initial soil sampling commitment for potato wart in PEI. We believe this to be an important step in an ongoing obligation to enhanced surveillance of this destructive disease via soil sampling.
“As the positive soil tests indicate, potatoes (potato wart host material) continue to be planted in known wart-infested fields. This practice needs to end as it perpetuates the disease and makes it likely to spread to other fields and farms through normal farming, transportation, processing, and waste disposal activities.
“CFIA and USDA Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS) must urgently address this vulnerability and the others identified in the APHIS October 2022 report regarding potato wart in PEI. Ten months have passed since APHIS released that comprehensive report. Nine months have passed since CFIA first announced its intention to provide enhanced phytosanitary security for potato wart and modernize its Potato Wart Long-Term Management Plan. During this time, potatoes from PEI continue to be shipped to the U.S.
“Without additional mitigation measures in place, that October 2022 USDA APHIS report states that it is a question of “when” not “if” PEI potato wart will spread to the United States. The consequences of continued inaction increase the likelihood that dire phytosanitary and economic hardships will be felt by the entire North American potato value chain.”