Zebra chip is a serious disease that can kill potato plants, significantly reduce yields, and make infected tubers unmarketable. It was first documented in Mexico in 1994 and in Texas in 2000. Since then, it has spread northward through much of the Western United States, as well as to Central America and New Zealand.
Published in Diseases
For potato growers, one of the most concerning and costly diseases is late blight, caused by the pathogen Phytophthora infestans. Estimated to cost almost $10 billion per year worldwide, late blight spreads by spores and can spread quickly in a field. Post-harvest losses can be substantial if infected tubers are harvested and stockpiled. Like other disease pathogens, new strains and novel genotypes of P. infestans have emerged over the past few years, creating new challenges for commercial potato growers.
Published in Diseases
The Japanese government has lifted an 11-year-old ban on importing fresh Idaho chipping potatoes, officials of the Idaho Potato Commission announced earlier in September.

Japan's Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries imposed a ban on importing all U.S. chipping potatoes in April 2006 in response to the discovery of a quarantined pest, the pale cyst nematode, in a small area of Eastern Idaho.

Trade was restored with other U.S. chipping potato states about a year later, but restrictions on Idaho were left in place.

This spring, IPC officials said Japanese chip makers experienced a shortage following a poor domestic harvest and had to stop selling some products. Japan will continue to exclude any Idaho chipping potatoes from Bonneville and Bingham counties, which encompass the PCN quarantine area. READ MORE
Published in News

July 6, 2015, Summerside, PEI – You would think people would be making a big “hub bub about it,” says Sylvia Doiron, because $500,000 is a lot of money. But there has not been much hub bub, says Doiron, only an eerie kind of quiet among folks around Summerside, P.E.I., at least when it comes to the latest half a million dollar twist in the island’s ongoing potato tampering saga.

The narrative, recall, began last October when darning needles — of the sort Doiron sells at Pins & Needles, a sewing shop on Water Street — showed up in P.E.I. spuds purchased at stores around the Atlantic provinces. The skewered potatoes were traced back to Linkletter Farms in Summerside, triggering an industry wide panic. READ MORE

Published in Consumer Issues

June 22, 2015, Charlottetown, PEI – The Province of Prince Edward Island is providing additional funding support of $500,000 to the Prince Edward Island potato industry to address foreign material detection technology and training, says Minister of Agriculture and Fisheries Alan McIsaac.

“The integrity of Prince Edward Island’s potato crop is of the utmost importance and lack of consumer confidence in the safety of our potatoes would have significant impact on potato sales,” said Minister McIsaac. “This additional funding will help ensure that our province’s potato industry can move forward from these malicious and criminal acts.”

Through the Growing Forward 2 Canada-Prince Edward Island agreement, the industry will receive financial assistance of $1.4 million for the purchase and installation of foreign material detection equipment. This additional provincial funding of $500,000 will be used for such work as on-site security assessments, training, equipment and continued strong compliance with food safety requirements associated with the detection of foreign material. The federal government has also committed an additional $1.5 million to the industry.

Potatoes represent the single largest agriculture commodity in terms of farm cash receipts ranging from $203 to $257 million annually over the past five years. Economic spin-offs of the industry exceed $1 billion annually.

“The PEI Potato Board is pleased to be working with the Province of Prince Edward Island to ensure the right strategies and technologies are in place to help our farmers address the challenge posed by the criminal act of food tampering,” said PEI Potato Board chairman, Alex Docherty. “Farms that have already been affected by food tampering have incurred losses of more than one million dollars, and the costs associated with installing foreign material detection equipment will exceed five million dollars. The production of safe, high quality potatoes has always been our top priority, and this support, along with existing involvement in CanadaGAP food safety programs, will help our growers maintain and exceed those high standards.”

“Prince Edward Island’s potato industry is vital to our provincial economy and any incident that could affect the livelihood of the industry would have severe repercussions to our province,” said Minister McIsaac. “It is important that we continue to work together – industry and both levels of government – to ensure that measures can be put in place to maintain consumer safety and confidence in our products.”

Published in Machinery

June 29, 2015, Charlottetown, PEI – The P.E.I. potato industry has raised the stakes for information leading to the conviction of anyone who has been inserting metal objects into Island potatoes.

The industry had put up a $100,000 reward for information leading to a conviction, and the morning of June 29 announced a $500,000 reward. READ MORE

Published in Consumer Issues

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