PEI Potato Board Announces Revised Potato Disinfection Program

(CHARLOTTETOWN, PEI – December 21st, 2015)  The Prince Edward Island Potato Board is pleased to announce a new plan for potato disinfection on Prince Edward Island.  This revised program was formed through collaboration with industry members and the Prince Edward Island Department of Agriculture and Fisheries, as well as independent scientific consultation.  Additionally, the Board believes that this plan meets the needs of potato farmers and addresses concerns voiced after the previously announced changes to the potato disinfection program.

This plan has the following main components:

Effective January 1st, the Prince Edward Island Potato Board will take over responsibility for disinfection services offered at the Borden-Carleton Inspection Station.  Disinfection services will be available at this location for any trucks moving potatoes.  As a transition measure, provincial staff will assist with disinfection services at the Borden facility until March 31, 2016.
The PEI Potato Board will host a series of workshops across Prince Edward Island in January to provide potato farmers, packers, and other industry partners with all of the necessary information to perform disinfection.  These workshops address biosecurity, Bacterial Ring Rot (BRR), and practical approaches to achieving top-notch cleaning and disinfection on farms.  A standard disinfection log book and certification form will be provided to farmers to record their disinfection activities as supporting documentation to the Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA) and other interested parties.  Furthermore, support will be offered through the Canada-PEI Growing Forward II programs to assist farmers with the purchase and installation of disinfection equipment.
Some private businesses have contacted the Board to indicate their availability to provide third party disinfection services.  These businesses will also be offered standard forms to record that disinfection services have been provided.
The PEI Department of Agriculture and Fisheries, through the Plant Health Act, will retain regulatory responsibility for oversight of PEI potato farms (both seed and non-seed) if BRR infection occurs. 
The PEI Department of Agriculture and Fisheries will continue to provide dedicated cleaning and disinfection services under contract with CFIA for potato wart regulated land.
The Prince Edward Island potato industry worked with both levels of government over many years to bring Bacterial Ring Rot to the point of functional eradication, and it is important that growers maintain on-farm biosecurity measures to protect against potential sources of infection. 

CFIA regulations require that all trucks transporting bulk seed potatoes must be cleaned and disinfected before being loaded. The new disinfection strategy continues to meet these requirements and reassures buyers of Prince Edward Island seed potatoes that there will be no disruption in disinfection service.  Prince Edward Island potatoes will continue to meet or exceed federal regulations.

Greg Donald, General Manager of the Prince Edward Island Potato Board, notes that “the plan announced today addresses our need to ensure biosecurity for our seed sector, the foundation of our Island potato industry. Through a collaborative approach with multiple experts and industry partners, we are pleased to arrive at a solution which maintains or enhances measures to prevent outbreaks of potato diseases such as Bacterial Ring Rot.”

Minister of Agriculture and Fisheries Hon. Alan McIsaac added that “The Province of Prince Edward Island recognizes the contribution of the Island’s potato farmers to our province and that through constructive collaboration between the Province of Prince Edward Island and PEI Potato Board, the industry will maintain its reputation for high quality product via enhanced emphasis on the highest standards of biosecurity.”

Prince Edward Island Potatoes are world renowned for the great taste and quality that comes from growing in the unique red soil of PEI.   The Prince Edward Island Potato Board is a producer-controlled association dedicated to supporting the highest performance of an economically and environmentally sustainable potato industry.