Statement from the Chief Plant Health Officer: Update on soil sample testing for Prince Edward Island  

Statement from the Chief Plant Health Officer: Update on soil sample testing for Prince Edward Island  

The Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA) has been testing soil samples from Prince Edward Island (PEI) as part of its tracing activities for the 2021 potato wart investigation. To date, the CFIA has collected and tested over 3,500 samples from priority fields associated with the two 2021 potato wart detections in restricted fields in October 2021. The CFIA follows an international standard to trace back any detections of potato wart, and goes back 10 years to conduct its comprehensive review of all possible points of transmission.

As part of the testing of these samples the CFIA’s laboratory in Charlottetown detected the presence of potato wart from a field near the October 2021 detections. This latest finding was not unexpected, as it is not uncommon to detect potato wart in associated fields during an investigation. It is on a farm that does not produce table stock potatoes and does not export to Puerto Rico. No seed potatoes produced in 2021 left this grower’s facility.

The CFIA’s Potato Wart Domestic Long Term Management Plan and the potato wart Ministerial Order continue to ensure that fields associated with detections of potato wart are controlled in a manner that protects Canada’s important agriculture sector and communities.

The CFIA stands firm that, based on the science, the risk of transmitting potato wart from table stock potatoes and potatoes for processing remains negligible when appropriate risk mitigation measures are in place.

The CFIA is continuing to work diligently to complete testing of all soil samples collected in its ongoing PEI potato wart investigations and has plans in place for further sample collection when grounds thaw in the spring. This will include an investigation into this latest detection of potato wart.

The CFIA holds regular technical discussions with the United States Department of Agriculture’s Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service and extensive efforts are underway to provide the information they have requested to resume trade. This includes scientific data from CFIA’s investigation of the recent potato wart detections, clear risk mitigation measures, and an ongoing monitoring plan for clearly-defined quarantined areas. The goal is to emphasize that the risk mitigation measures put in place provide enough evidence that the trade of table stock is safe to resume immediately. Both countries have showed their commitment to regular meetings and information sharing to advance this file.

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