New requirements are in place for exporting potatoes from Prince Edward Island to the United States.
The Canadian Food Inspection Agency has negotiated an agreement with the U.S. to prevent the spread of potato wart and maintain market access for Canadian potato growers.
The CFIA said the new requirements are due to recent detections of potato wart on P.E.I. and the need to prevent further spread.
P.E.I. potatoes must have a special inspection conducted by the CFIA, documentation that they were grown in a field where potato wart has not been found, and they must be washed or dry-brushed and treated with a registered sprout inhibitor if harvested more than 30 days before shipment.
Seed potatoes have to come from a field that has been soil-sampled, tested, and found free of potato wart within one year of harvest. They also have to be visually inspected during harvest, or within 10 days of harvest.
Greg Donald, general manager of the P.E.I. Potato Board, notes these are interim measures.
"The implications from this federal order are actually formalizing some of the things that we already do and also some additional measures given the most recent detection just to ensure additional safeguards if you will for the U.S. industry," said Donald.
Since 2000, when potato wart was first detected on P.E.I., the CFIA has confirmed potato wart in 23 fields on the Island.
Potatoes from any field under CFIA restrictions for potato wart are not eligible for shipment to the U.S.
Potato wart doesn't pose a risk to human health or food safety.
However, it can reduce yields and make potatoes unmarketable.