Potatoes in Canada

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Ottawa invests in potato safety

 

June 23, 2015, Charlottetown, PEI – The federal government is investing $1.5 million to support the Island’s potato industry in addressing recent challenges with tampered potatoes.

Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada will work with the P.E.I. Potato Board to assist producers, packing sheds and processors to enhance their efforts to detect and remove foreign material from potatoes. These funds will enable P.E.I.’s potato farmers to acquire and install equipment to detect and remove foreign material.

The funding announcement comes as the RCMP continues to investigate instances where foreign objects were found in harvested potatoes. The ongoing investigation is being supported by the Canadian Food Inspection Agency.

“P.E.I.’s potato industry plays an important role in our Island’s economy. Our government recognizes the financial burden on farmers, packers and the overall industry this unlawful activity has created and we are pleased to respond with significant financial assistance toward the purchase of metal detection equipment. We will continue to work closely with industry on strategies and initiatives to help potato producers and industry maintain consumer confidence,” said Gail Shea, Minister of Fisheries and Oceans, Regional Minister for Prince Edward Island and MP for Egmont.

“The production of safe, high quality potatoes has always been our top priority, and our farms have a high level of enrolment in the CanadaGAP food safety program,” added Alex Docherty, chair of the P.E.I. Potato Board. “The P.E.I. Potato Board is working with the government of Canada and the province of Prince Edward Island to ensure the right strategies and technology are in place to help our farmers address the challenge posed by the criminal act of food tampering.”

This new funding will be in addition to the $1.4 million cost-shared initiative committed by the federal and provincial governments under Growing Forward 2.