© Reuters. FILE PHOTO: Farmer on his farm in Purmer, The Netherlands, April 3, 2020 deals with large stocks of potatoes that he cannot sell to restaurants or catering services because they are closed due to coronavirus outbreak (COVID-19) REUTERS / Eva Plevier
OTTAWA (Reuters) – Canada has not found more evidence of the fungus in fresh potatoes, which could allow continued exports to the United States from the province of Prince Edward Island, the Canadian Food Inspection Agency announced on Friday.
Canada halted deliveries in November after confirming the fungus on two farms in October, the first in 21 years. The United States has said it will ban all imports of fresh potatoes from the province unless Canada takes further action.
In response, the CFIA conducted a national survey that found no potato warts in non-quarantine areas. That is reportedly the information Washington was looking for.
“(This) was submitted to the U.S. Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service earlier today and should be reassured that it is safe to continue the trade in fresh potatoes,” the CFIA said in a statement.
The CFIA said it had quarantined two farms and was taking appropriate mitigation measures.
“The trade in potatoes from non-quarantined fields is safe and does not pose a danger to pest-free areas,” it said.
No one from the U.S. Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service was immediately available for comment. Friday is a public holiday in the United States.
Potato warts can reduce crop yields, but do not pose a threat to human health or food safety, the CFIA says.
Prince Edward Island grew by about 20% of the national harvest in 2020. The crop is worth more than a billion Canadian dollars ($ 781 million) a year for the province’s economy.
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