PE Ledger

Americans say P.E.I. potatoes to be permitted into mainland U.S. ‘soon’


Key takeaways: 

  • U.S. farmers ‘disturbed’ with the announcement.
  •  A truckload of potatoes is abandoned in a field to be destroyed in early February.

According to a press release Thursday from the United States Department of Agriculture’s Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service, or APHIS, P.E.I. table potatoes will soon be let into the continental U.S. with several conditions. 

The Canadian Food Inspection Agency will raise its prohibition on shipping P.E.I. table or eating potatoes — but not seed or processing potatoes. 

“USDA has decided P.E.I. potatoes for consumption only may continue under specified circumstances that will pose little chance of introducing potato wart infection into the United States,” stated the release from APHIS.

Shipments of new potatoes to the U.S. mainland have been restricted for months, following the finding of potato warts in two P.E.I. fields in October.

Also read: Summerside decides to trade green space for housing

The Canadian Food Inspection Agency will raise its prohibition

The Canadian Food Inspection Agency suspended shipments of potatoes to the U.S. in November, driven by a U.S. danger that it would act if Canada did not. Canadian officials were worried that American action would be more challenging to reverse.

“USDA bases all our farming trade decisions on sound science,” said U.S. Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack. “We are sure that table stock potatoes can enter the United States with proper safeguards to protect the U.S. potato industry.”

THE RELEASE STATED THAT the U.S. would need that P.E.I. imports and the root potatoes used to make them “originate from fields not known to be plagued with potato warts or associated with known infestations,” the release stated. 

Other requirements state that P.E.I. potatoes must be:

  • cleaned and sprout-nipped.
  • Graded to meet the U.S. No. 1 standard.
  • Officially reviewed by Canada’s national plant conservation organization and approved as meeting USDA needs.

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