WASHINGTON – United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) Secretary Tom Vilsack today announced the resumption of tablestock potatoes from Prince Edward Island (PEI), Canada, into Puerto Rico. USDA has determined the importation of these potatoes under specified conditions poses little risk of introducing potato wart disease, a soil-borne disease that reduces yield and marketability, to Puerto Rico.
“It is critical that we base our agricultural trade decisions on sound science,” Vilsack said. “After considering Puerto Rico’s low risk for potato wart due to climate conditions, as well as the lack of a commercial potato production industry on the island, we are confident that with appropriate mitigations in place this trade can resume safely, and the U.S. potato industry will remain protected.”
Canadian authorities had voluntarily suspended exports of all potatoes for consumption and planting from PEI following a recent detection of potato wart disease. Potato wart is not known to occur in the U.S. and there are no treatments available for its control.
Starting February 9, PEI can resume exporting tablestock potatoes in accordance with specific USDA requirements and Canadian Food Inspection Agency mitigations.