P.E.I. Potato Shipments To The U.S. Halted Due To Fungal Outbreak

Shipments of all fresh potatoes from Prince Edward Island to the United States have been halted after the discovery of potato wart on several farms in the province.

The Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA) announced the order stopping P.E.I. potato shipments in a news release.

Potato wart is a fungal parasite spread through the movement of infected potatoes, soil and farm equipment. It poses no threat to human health but decreases the yield of potato crops.

In October, potato wart was found on two P.E.I. farms, which is in addition to detections of the fungus on 33 potato fields in the province since the year 2000.

The CFIA on November 2 stopped shipping seed potatoes from P.E.I. to the U.S., and the new order expands export restrictions to include all fresh potatoes. The order doesn't apply to processed potatoes such as frozen products.

Canada’s Federal Agriculture Minister Marie-Claude Bibeau says the U.S. made it clear that it would ban imports of all fresh P.E.I. potatoes if Canada did not act first to suspend trade.