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Canada/U.S. Agreement Supports Potato Trade

Canadian and American growers benefit from new testing requirements for potato cyst nematode

OTTAWA, ONTARIO -- (Marketwired) -- 05/20/14 -- The Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA) and the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) have adopted revised guidelines to manage potato cyst nematode (PCN) that will support potato growers, help facilitate international trade, and maintain protection against the pest.

Effective immediately, seed potato growers can be eligible to export three crops without any additional soil sampling and testing, if their fields have been tested twice and determined not to be infested with PCN. In the past, seed potato growers were required to undergo sampling and testing for every crop of seed potatoes destined for the U.S.

Small potato tuber samples may now be exported to the U.S. without any additional soil sampling and testing if they were produced in a field that has been tested and determined not to be infested with PCN.

Overall, the revised PCN guidelines will help farmers take advantage of trade opportunities with less paperwork, fewer delays and lower costs.

While PCN does not pose a risk to human health, it is recognized internationally as a destructive plant pest of economic importance and, therefore, a quarantine pest for the United States and Canada.

Growers who intend to ship seed potatoes to the U.S. are encouraged to contact their local CFIA office for more information and to schedule any soil sampling and testing that may be required.

Quick Facts

--  The CFIA and USDA-APHIS originally established the PCN testing
    requirements in 2006 to facilitate the safe trade of potatoes between
    Canada the United States while minimizing unnecessary disruptions to
    trade.

--  Based on all the extensive PCN soil sampling and testing conducted since
    2006, Canada is confident that PCN is not widespread and the present
    control measures are effective in controlling this pest.

--  Canadian seed potato exports to the U.S. are valued at more than $25
    million per year.


Quotes

"Our Government continues to work with the United States to support potato growers on both sides of the border. This common-sense revision to the PCN guidelines is a practical, science based move that will benefit producers and help grow our economy."

Gerry Ritz, Minister of Agriculture and Agri-Food

"The revision to the PCN guidelines is a step in the right direction, based on science, and it should reduce the demand on PCN soil sampling and testing. We were pleased to be involved throughout the revision process and the revised guidelines should benefit growers on both sides of the border."

Bob Watson, Chair, Seed Potato Sub-Committee

Associated Links

- Pest Fact Sheet: Potato Cyst Nematode

Contacts:
Jeff English
Director of Communications
The Office of Gerry Ritz, Minister of Agriculture
613-773-1059

Canadian Food Inspection Agency
Media Relations
(613) 773-6600

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