Canadians Scramble On Issue

Published online: Nov 14, 2000
Canadian potato growers on Prince Edward Island, stung by the news that the potato wart virus has been found on PEI, are going to all efforts to solve the dilemma so commerce can return to normal.

Ken Proudfoot, of Newfoundland, the leading North American expert on the potato wart virus, is providing additional staff and training to support Canadian Food Inspection Agency Director Mitch Murphy and his department.

Murphy and his staff have received increased financial resources to speed up testing. Three labs are now testing soil samples: St. Johns, Nfld., Ottawa, and Charlottetown, which is the lead lab.

Some 44 inspectors are collecting samples six days a week with about 1,000 samples being collected daily.

Murphy says he is pleased with the cooperative effort and hard work of everyone involved to show that the potato wart finding was an isolated incident and under control.

"With the increased testing, we hope to get the first results in the near future," Murphy added.

Two information meetings were held Monday to update growers of the situation and the nature and means of control of the disease. Murphy also met with Agriculture Minister Lyle Vanclief Monday to emphasize the seriousness of the situation. He has also been in contact with agriculture ministers across Canada along with trade officials in Ottawa and Washington.