Latest potato pin incident different, say RCMP, marketing board

The most recent report of a metal object found in a bag of potatoes appears to be of a different nature than previous incidents, say RCMP and the P.E.I. Potato Board.

'Not every object has been ruled as tampering,' says RCMP Sgt. Leanne Butler

A Newfoundland woman says she found a watch strap pin in a potato. (Submitted by Wendy Poole)

The most recent report of a metal object found in a bag of potatoes appears to be of a different nature than previous incidents, say RCMP and the P.E.I. Potato Board.

The latest incident of a metal object found in a potato reportedly involved russet potatoes purchased at a Co-op store. (Submitted by Wendy Poole)
There are reports a woman from Clarenville, N.L. found something in a potato she was eating.

"This particular report is for what appears to be a pin from a watch strap, which is quite different from the nails and needles that the RCMP have been investigating since the fall," board assistant general manager Brenda Simmons wrote to CBC News in an email.

Since last October, metal objects have been found in bags of potatoes in all four Atlantic provinces. In May alone, there were seven reports of tampered potatoes across the region. Frozen potato producer Cavendish Farms also reported needles on its production line in New Annan, P.E.I.

The Canadian Food Inspection Agency and the P.E.I. RCMP, who have been investigating the tampering incidents, are aware of this latest report.

Sgt. Leanne Butler says RCMP will examine the pin to see if the incident will become part of their tampering investigation. Since police began looking into the situation, they have received potatoes containing items that are sometimes found during normal processing , she says.

"Not every object has been ruled as tampering," said Butler.

Sgt. Leanne Butler says RCMP will examine the pin to determine whether the incident will become part of their potato tampering investigation. (CBC)
At the end of June, the P.E.I. potato industry raised the reward money for information leading to a conviction in the tampering case to $500,000 from $100,000.

The deadline for the short-term reward increase is Aug. 16. After that date, the $100,000 reward will still be available.

"The cash reward deadline may be coming up, but our investigation is ongoing and will continue even after the reward is finished," said Butler.

"We will continue investigating until we come to a resolution."

The industry is also in the midst of installing millions of dollars worth of metal detection equipment at farms and potato processors. The federal and provincial governments are contributing $2 million toward that effort.

Comments

To encourage thoughtful and respectful conversations, first and last names will appear with each submission to CBC/Radio-Canada's online communities (except in children and youth-oriented communities). Pseudonyms will no longer be permitted.

By submitting a comment, you accept that CBC has the right to reproduce and publish that comment in whole or in part, in any manner CBC chooses. Please note that CBC does not endorse the opinions expressed in comments. Comments on this story are moderated according to our Submission Guidelines. Comments are welcome while open. We reserve the right to close comments at any time.