Export deal reached on P.E.I. spuds

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OTTAWA, Ont. — The U.S. has lifted restrictions on most P.E.I. potatoes and officials say another dispute, like the one that grew from the discovery of potato wart virus last October, is unlikely.

“This sets a precedent on how these types of issues should be dealt with,” says Agriculture Minister Lyle Vanclief. “The reality is that if you’re dealing with something like sanitary and phytosanitary issues, there are no two situations the same. You need to reach those decisions based on science.”

The deal between the Canadian Food Inspection Agency and the U.S. Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service, lifts the stringent restrictions previously placed on P.E.I. spuds such as washing and sprout nipping.

Limits on package sizes and requirements on available border crossings have also been removed.

However, the infected field and 25 so-called contact fields remain off limits to bulk potato shipments. These will be subjected to inspections for three years, before becoming eligible for export again.

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