United States Secretary of Agriculture Ann Veneman announced today relaxed rules for allowing the movement of potatoes from the Prince Edward Island potato wart fungus quarantine area into Canada and the United States.
These conditions apply only to the 2000 PEI crop and are designed to mitigate the risk of spreading the potato wart disease, the USDA announcement stated.
Under terms accepted by both the USDA and Canadian Food Inspection Agency a mutually acceptable work plan has been developed and agreed upon that will allow shipments within Canada this week. Exports to the U.S. could begin as early as April 30.
"We are pleased that this issue has been resolved," said Veneman. "This agreement has been made based on scientific principles that will ensure safeguards are in place to protect against the spread of the disease."
Potatoes allowed into theUnited States will be from Zone Four of PEI, provided they are washed and treated with sprout inhibitor. These potatoes are limited to boxes and bags no larger than 50 pounds, and must be intensively inspected and certified by CFIA. All surface shipments from Zone Four entering the U.S. must enter the port of Houlton, ME.
In addition, movement of potatoes within Canada must also meet specific requirements. Tablestock potatoes from Zones Three and Four may move if soil has been removed from them. In addition, they must be inspected for the potato wart disease and are limited to boxes or bags of 50 pounds or less. The movement of bulk shipments will resume from these zones provided there is strict CFIA monitoring.
Other points: seed may move within Canada, with seed certification procedures and phytosanitary inspections, and bulk shipments of potatoes into the U.S. will remain suspended as well as the importation of seed potatoes from PEI. Tablestock potatoes from Zones One and Two cannot be moved off PEI.
The USDA will send a team of scientists to Canada by June 15 to review activities, soil surveys, and inspection procedures for the 2001 crop.