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Canada free from potato wart—sort of

pei potato wart 2022

Is this headline a lie? “Potato wart not detected in 2022 national survey.” Potato wart not detected in 2022 national survey (

It discusses a survey by the Canadian Food Inspection Service (CFIS) of the presence of the potato wart in Canada. Last year, the disease stopped the shipment of some Canadian potatoes to the U.S.

richard smoley produce blueprints

Technically, this headline is not a lie: “The Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA) has completed its 2022 national survey for potato wart and confirms that potato wart was not detected in the soil samples tested from the fields where the samples were collected,” we are told.

“The survey included fields in British Columbia, Alberta, Saskatchewan, Manitoba, Ontario, Quebec, New Brunswick, and Nova Scotia.”

So, yes, those provinces surveyed didn’t show any signs of potato wart. But we also learn that the survey didn’t look into the crop in Newfoundland, Labrador, and Prince Edward Island (PEI).

But it was the presence of the potato wart in the crop from PEI that interrupted exports to the U.S.

So, the potato wart is no longer a problem in Canada, except in those areas where it has been a problem.

In fact, PEI is still not free from the potato wart, at least as of the end of 2022, the time of last quarterly report. (See attached map. “Index Fields” are those where the disease has been found.)

The areas that are affected are small and should not disrupt exports to the United States any more than at present: “On April 1, 2022, the USDA-APHIS announced that imports of PEI potatoes for consumption can now resume to the U.S. with conditions. Field grown seed potatoes from PEI may not be exported to the U.S. at this time.”

The Canadian government appears to have the potato wart under control. Naturally, it wants to reassure export markets that nearly all of its potatoes are free from the disease. But it’s not 100 percent honest to suggest that it is totally absent nationwide.

potato warts

Richard Smoley, contributing editor for Blue Book Services, Inc., has more than 40 years of experience in magazine writing and editing, and is the former managing editor of California Farmer magazine. A graduate of Harvard and Oxford universities, he has published 12 books.