Mop Top Concern Still Mystery

Published online: Aug 23, 2002
Web Exclusive
>Idaho potato industry spokesmen are still puzzled by the sudden announcement by the Canadian Food Inspection Service that potatoes from Idaho were included with those from several other states as having Mop Top virus.

Not only is this a shock to the entire United States industry but to the largest producing state. The first positive finding was in Maine.

Testing over 18 months by Canada supposedly found 115-138 samples testing positive out of 2,300 shipments.

United States APHIS officials will meet with their Canadian counterparts next week and go through the lab on Prince Edward Island that detected the PMTV.

“APHIS will make a physical visit…to confirm in their minds that the procedures [in testing] were properly followed and it was a proper test,” an industry spokesman stated.

Idaho officials state there is no runaway problem with the virus in the Idaho production system. In addition, it is known that the PMTV symptoms can appear very similar to PVY-ntn and corky ring spot brown flecking in tuber tissue.

The U.S. has not even agreed to start testing to justify their [Canadian] findings at this time. It could be two-to-three weeks before APHIS has any decision on what if any testing should be done.

The virus was been found after 18 months of sampling and testing by Canada. U.S. officials are still mystified why Canada’s inspection officials wouldn’t release their findings when it was first discovered.

The tuber symptoms are harmless to consumers but are undesirable to processors because of the discoloration.

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