Five truckloads of Prince Edward Island potatoes have been inspected and cleared for entry into the United States at the Houlton, ME, port of entry.
Each load must under go vigorous inspection. It takes at least two hours to complete inspections.
Two trucks were turned back because of excess dirt in the eyes of the potatoes. One was held for further testing-at least 48 hours more. A whitish material was found on the potatoes but it turned out to be common scab. However, that load was also turned back.
PEI growers are looking at the positive side of things, noting that prices have improved in both Canada and the United States, up to $1.50 per cwt. PEI growers say there is a big demand for their potatoes in the United States.
In related news, on May 3 PEI passed legislation requiring a three-year crop rotation-or proof of an acceptable alternative. The fine is $1,000 per hectare. This law goes into effect April of 2002 and is necessary for groundwater and land protection.