APHIS Amends Entry Requirements for Importation of Potato from Prince Edward Island to Prevent Introduction of Potato Wart Pathogen

Effective immediately, the United States Department of Agriculture’s Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS) is amending its requirements for the importation of potato (Solanum tuberosum) from Prince Edward Island (PEI), Canada to prevent the introduction of potato wart (causal agent Synchytrium endobioticum) into the United States.

Synchytrium endobioticum (S. endobioticum) is regulated by APHIS as a Select Agent. Potato wart is known to affect only the domestic potato (Solanum tuberosum) and two wild potato species (Solanum spp.). The fungus overwinters in the soil as spores and may remain viable for 40 years or more in the absence of a host plant. The spores can survive a wide range of environmental conditions, including conditions in storage and transport. A low level of resting spores in tubers or soil is sufficient for the spread of the pathogen. The movement of infected potato tubers and contaminated soil are documented as important pathways for the introduction of S. endobioticum to new areasThere are no treatments available to control potato wart.

Prior to the issuance of Federal Order DA-2022-14, APHIS regulated the importation of potatoes from Canada according to the requirements of Federal Order DA-2015-01 issued on January 26, 2015. That order allowed the importation of table stock, bulk, unwashed, and seed potatoes from PEI with a phytosanitary certificate and under specified conditions.  

Potato wart was first reported in a processing potato field in PEI in 2000.   Since the initial detection 21 years ago, S. endobioticum had been detected in PEI in a total of 34 fields. In 2021, the Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA) reported two new potato wart infestations, which resulted in Canada’s issuance of a Ministerial Order that suspended the certification of potato exports from PEI to the United States. Canada has requested that APHIS allow the resumption of potato imports under new conditions given the latest detections, and subsequent confirmatory analysis in February 2022.

To prevent the introduction of S. endobioticum into the United States, APHIS is replacing Federal Order DA-2015-01 with Federal Order DA-2022-14.  The Federal Order DA-2022-14 prohibits the importation of field-grown seed potatoes from PEI into the United States and allows the importation of potatoes for consumption that meet the specified conditions, as well as all other applicable USDA regulations.

For additional information regarding this Federal Order, please contact Senior Regulatory Policy Specialist Narasimha Chary Samboju at 301-851-2038 or narasimha.c.samboju@usda.gov.