Canadians `Enraged' Over Closing

Published online: Dec 18, 2000
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After Prince Edward Island potatoes were stopped at the U.S. border Friday, Dec. 15, Canadian Federal Agriculture Minister Lyle Vanclief was enraged.

"We have a signed letter allowing trade to resume immediately," he said.

An agreement had been hammered out to allow PEI table stock potatoes to cross the border following a ban for the potato wart virus.

Some growers are saying, "It's time to tell Idaho and Wisconsin that potatoes from quarantined areas will not be allowed into Canada."

A PEI newspaper quoted John Thompson, communications director of the Potato Growers of Idaho, that U.S. growers are questioning Canadian testing methods.

Don Love of the Canadian Federation Inspection Agency claims that it was Canadian laboratories and methods that the U.S. used when they had potato wart. Thompson told the PEI newspaper he's getting tired of the Canadian demands to open the border.

There have been circulated reports that APHIS struck an agreement with the Canadians to permit potatoes into the United States. However, after a meeting with Dave Lavway of the National Potato Council, Dave Smith of the Idaho Grower Shippers Association, and Pat Kole, attorney for the Idaho Potato Commission, APHIS said the papers were only preliminary documents.