P.E.I. Ending Truck Disinfection Program at Year’s End

CHARLOTTETOWN, PE — Truckers hauling potatoes on Prince Edward Island will have one less matter to contend with following a recent decision by officials in the province to close the truck disinfection station in the town of Borden-Carleton and remove mobile units by Dec. 31.

According to CBC News, under the program, trucks carrying potatoes are sprayed to help prevent bacterial ring rot. 

However, in an interview with todaystrucking.com, an official with the Atlantic Provinces Trucking Association (APTA) says the program is no longer needed because potatoes aren’t at risk of disease anymore, only the seed loads are potentially at risk.

“If a farmer thinks his potatoes are still at risk, he will have to find options to disinfect the trucks he uses, whether its at his own farm or facility,” says Jean-Marc Picard, executive director APTA. “At the end of the day, yes, there is some concern in the trucking community, because we always have a certain degree of risk if a load goes bad in our possession, but in this case the ring rot disease doesn’t pose a treat so the risk is no more than usual.”

According to Picard, out of the 12,700 loads of potatoes that are shipped, the risk lies with just the 800 or so loads of potato seed loads that come into the province.

P.E.I. Agriculture Minister Alan McIsaac says the reason to terminate the program was based on money and science.

The cost for spraying to producers was $10 per truck, but the government was paying $32, according to CBC, and the province wanted to increase the cost to producers to $30, saying the fees had not changed in 18 years. However. potato growers and officials could not reach a deal.

Some P.E.I Potato Board members are calling the decision to end the spraying is “reckless” and that it was very successful in minimizing the possible spread of disease from commercial vehicles and equipment.

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