Canadian Food Inspection Agency

Canadian Food Inspection Agency

August 01, 2008 15:37 ET

Canada and Mexico Reach Agreement to Lift Temporary Import Restrictions on Alberta Potatoes

OTTAWA, ONTARIO--(Marketwire - Aug. 1, 2008) - The Government of Canada has delivered for Canadian farmers by reopening Mexican markets to Alberta potatoes. The Government reached an agreement with Mexico to immediately resume the export of Alberta seed and table-stock potatoes to their country.

"This Government has taken swift action for Alberta farmers to reopen the Mexican border to Alberta's high quality seed potatoes," said the Honourable Gerry Ritz, Minister of Agriculture and Agri-Food and Minister for the Canadian Wheat Board. "Mexico is one of Canada's top markets for seed potatoes and this agreement delivers more results for Canadian producers."

Mexico imposed temporary restrictions prohibiting the import of Alberta potatoes in December 2007 because of concerns over the detection of golden nematode, a species of potato cyst nematode (PCN), in two soil samples from two farms in northern Alberta in the fall of 2007.

Both Canada and Mexico remain committed to working together to prevent the spread of PCN. The agreement allows for the import of Alberta's seed and table-stock potatoes from areas not under quarantine restrictions for PCN.

The CFIA continues to test soil samples from all Alberta seed potato fields and from all other seed potato producing provinces. In the 19,400 soil samples tested so far, there have been no other positive results for the plant pest.

Precautions are being taken to prevent the introduction and spread of PCN. While it does not pose a risk to human health, if left unmanaged this quarantine pest can eventually reduce yields of potatoes and other host crops, such as tomatoes and eggplants.

Additional information on PCN and other quarantine pests is available on the CFIA web site at www.inspection.gc.ca.

Contact Information

  • Canadian Food Inspection Agency
    National Media Relations
    613-228-6682