Canadian Food Inspection Agency

Canadian Food Inspection Agency

May 05, 2008 15:13 ET

CFIA and USDA Announce Revised Guidelines for the Movement of Seed Potatoes Between Canada and the United States

OTTAWA, ONTARIO-(Marketwire - May 5, 2008) - The Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA) and the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) today announced modified guidelines to allow for the continued trade of potatoes should there be future detections of potato cyst nematodes (PCN) in either the United States or Canada.

"I am pleased that Canada and the United States have reached this agreement to make sure American producers have access to Canadian seed potatoes," said the Honourable Gerry Ritz, Minister of Agriculture and Agri-Food and Minister for the Canadian Wheat Board. "This deal is also delivering results for both American and Canadian farm families by clarifying guidelines to make sure we work together effectively to handle future PCN issues."

As part of the revised export certification requirements, all fields used to produce seed potatoes for trade between Canada and the United States must be soil sampled using a full field grid pattern. As a result, the previous sampling technique-the perimeter sampling approach-no longer meets the agreed-upon requirements. All potato shipments between the two countries must also include a phytosanitary certificate with an additional declaration confirming that the seed potatoes originated from fields tested and found free of potato cyst nematodes.

"USDA and CFIA are committed to relying on sound science as the basis of all our decision making and have agreed to establish a scientific panel to advise on the implementation of the guidelines," said U.S. Agriculture Secretary Ed Schafer. "The revised guidelines will maintain the safe movement of potatoes between the United States and Canada while continuing to protect our countries against the spread of potato cyst nematodes."

CFIA and USDA's Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS) revised the guidelines in response to the golden nematode detection in the province of Alberta in the fall of 2007. If Canada meets all of the requirements of the revised guidelines, some Alberta seed potatoes from the 2007 crop could be eligible for export to the United States.

Both the Canada and the United States remain committed to preventing the spread of these nematodes. The revised guidelines adjust the risk mitigating measures established following the 2006 detections of potato cyst nematodes-the pale cyst nematode, Globodera pallida, in Idaho and the golden nematode, Globodera rostochiensis, in Quebec.

The golden nematode and the potato cyst nematode are recognized internationally as quarantine plant pests; however they do not pose a threat to human health. If left uncontrolled, these pests have the potential to cause significant damage to potato crops. Potatoes and tomatoes are the principal crops of economic importance that are attacked by these pests. The economic impact of these nematodes can be high due to crop losses, pest management expenses and market access interruptions.

Contact Information

  • Canadian Food Inspection Agency
    National media relations
    National CFIA spokesperson:
    Alain Boucher, National Manager,
    Potato Cyst Nematode Emergency Section
    Moncton, New Brunswick