'New protocols needed'

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14 November 2022
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NPC urges increased protections to prevent PEI potato wart spread.

THE National Potato Council in the US and state potato associations have called on USDA Undersecretary of Marketing and Regulatory Services, Jenny Moffitt, to work with the Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA) to develop new phytosanitary protocols to prevent potato wart spreading from Prince Edward Island to US growing areas. 

Last month USDA’s Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS) concluded in a risk assessment that the disease was likely to be introduced to the US unless additional mitigation measures were put in place.

After a meeting between Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and US President Joe Biden last spring, the borders had been reopened, following a wart finding, which was extensively covered by Potato Review.

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Members of the US potato industry wrote to Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack urging him to implement mitigation measures that would not impact on trade in clean product. They say no potato wart disease detections are still being announced on PEI but no actions have been taken.

The letter to Jenny Moffit states: "It is clear that the current protocol (the 2015 Federal Order) no longer meets Secretary Vilsack’s standard and does not provide the necessary mitigation to protect the U.S. industry from disease introduction. Therefore, a new protocol must be put in place immediately in order to establish the necessary protection.”

NPC and the state organisations offered a number of questions and observations that should be addressed by APHIS and CFIA in constructing a new protocol, including more clarity on the numbers of soil samples remaining to be tested from PEI; banning the re-packing of bulk shipments entering the US; and maintaining a "meaningful level" of testing in PEI for the foreseeable future.

Source: National Potato Council

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