The scope of the investigation, according to the CFIA, is so large that it will take time to complete.
The inquiry into the discovery of potato wart in two P.E.I. fields, according to a Canadian Food Inspection Agency officer, might take until 2023.
A group from the CFIA gave a presentation to members of the legislature’s standing committee on natural resources on Friday afternoon.
Cory Deagle, the committee chair, was so taken aback by the mention of 2023 that he requested the presenter to repeat himself.
One of the CFIA scientists meeting with scientists from the United States is Chief Plant Health Officer David Bailey, who reiterated that the probe could take more than a year to complete.
“The CFIA is putting in all of its effort to complete the examination into these detections as soon as possible. However, this is a scientific exercise with our American counterparts, and it takes time “Bailey remarked.
“Given the complexity of the study, the issue of time becomes much more complicated. As a result, they may not be ready before 2023, and I want to emphasise the term “may.”
Fields with the high risk
In November, the CFIA put a ban on fresh potato shipments from P.E.I. to the United States, claiming that if the move had not been made, the Americans would have implemented their own restrictions that would have been considerably more difficult to undo.
Bailey told the committee that gathering all of the information the Americans require to be satisfied that it is safe to resume shipping P.E.I. potatoes south of the border will take time.
Hundreds of fields close to and related to the two contaminated farms must now be checked, according to the CFIA, and the race is on as the winter freeze approaches.
“We’re prioritising soil sampling in the highest-risk fields because we feel that after we’ve done that, we’ll be able to provide that knowledge that will also help manage that risk question,” Bailey said.
“It’s quite tough to establish a particular timing critical path. We have no control over their [US] decision-making, and we have no control over when they are at ease in terms of risk tolerance.”