The Canadian Food Inspection Agency has confirmed the presence of potato wart in a single potato field near Freetown, Prince Edward Island, following the collection and testing of soil samples during the past several weeks.

Potato wart, a soilborne fungus, poses no threat to human health and does not affect the safety of potatoes for consumption. But it does cause unsightly growths on the tubers, rendering them unmarketable.

Potato wart can be transmitted to pest-free areas through infected soil or potatoes.

The CFIA has advised its major trading partners that potato wart has been confirmed.

The agency also has implemented containment measures and a long-term management plan designed to minimize trade impacts for the potato industry in PEI and the rest of Canada.

After the initial finding of potato wart in 2000, the plan was established to identify regulatory requirements, manage detections and prevent trade disruptions should the disease be found in the future in Canada or the United States.

The latest find of potato wart was made after a producer voluntary submitted a tuber displaying potato wart symptoms. The resulting investigation to determine the precise origin of the infected tuber. The field is close to a another field already known to be positive. The other field has been under surveillance since the first potato wart detection in 2000.

When the producer submitted the sample, the Canadian agency immediately implemented control measures to limit the potential spread of infested soil and plant parts.

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