No potato wart found in 5,000 samples tested by CFIA

·1 min read
A ban on exports of P.E.I. potatoes to the U.S. last fall led to the destruction of hundreds of millions of pounds of potatoes. (Mary Kay Sonier/PEI Potato Board - image credit)
A ban on exports of P.E.I. potatoes to the U.S. last fall led to the destruction of hundreds of millions of pounds of potatoes. (Mary Kay Sonier/PEI Potato Board - image credit)

With testing completed on 5,000 P.E.I. soil samples collected by the Canadian Food Inspection Agency from March to June no potato wart fungus has been found.

CFIA collected more than 17,000 soil samples from March 5 to June 30 and testing on those samples continues. One sample with potato wart was found among about 3,500 taken from Oct. 7 to March 4.

The testing began after two potatoes from a quarantined field were found to have potato wart in October 2021.

The discovery prompted an export ban for table potatoes to the United States that lasted from November through March, cost the industry tens of millions of dollars and led to the destruction of hundreds of millions of pounds of potatoes.

The export of seed potatoes outside the province remains under a ban.

A spokesperson for CFIA told CBC News the agency is planning to hire about 70 staff to assist with completing the collection and testing of soil samples. The work is expected to continue until late November.

Updates are posted quarterly, and the next update will be published in October 2022.

Seed potato exports are not expected to resume this year.

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