Global Agriculture

Statement from Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack on Canada’s Suspension of Potatoes from Prince Edward Island, Canada, to the United States

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23 November 2021, Washington: The United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) commends Canada for implementing the necessary plant health (phytosanitary) measures to safeguard against the transmission of potato wart disease from Prince Edward Island (PEI), Canada, to the United States.

“I appreciate Canada’s action to suspend the movement of all potatoes from Prince Edward Island to the United States,” said Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack. “Our risk assessment demonstrated that this action is necessary to protect U.S. potato producers from possible exposure to the Federally designated select agent Synchytrium endobioticum, commonly known as potato wart. We look forward to working with the Canadian Food Inspection Agency as they delimit the infestation and trace the sources so that appropriate mitigation measures can be imposed and trade restrictions relaxed.”

On Nov. 21, 2021, the Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA) suspended certification of all potatoes from PEI. This decision follows CFIA’s confirmed detections of potato wart in 2020 and, most recently, October 2021. Potato wart is one of the most serious potato diseases in the world. It reduces yield and makes potatoes unmarketable. Potatoes are considered to be the primary pathway for the disease, and the suspension is a necessary interim measure to protect United States potato production. In addition, all used farm machinery, farm tools, and farming equipment from PEI imported into the United States be visibly clean and free of soil. These restrictions only impact PEI and trade continues with the rest of Canada.

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