U.S. After Info On Canadian BRR Findings

Published online: Feb 17, 2004
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The USDA's Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service  has made a formal request to Greg Stubbings, director of the Plant Health and Production Division of the Canadian Food Inspection Agency, for information dealing with bacterial ring rot findings in seed potatoes sold into the United States.

Dr. Cathlelen A. Enright, assistant deputy administrator, Phytosanitary Issues Management, Plant Protection and Quarantine, made the request in a letter dated Feb. 10.

Enright told Stubbings that due to the presence of BRR in the U.S., the industry is very concerned about the health of seed potatoes from Canada.

Several commercial producers in the Columbia Basin of Washington purchased Canadian seed potatoes last season and suffered significant losses from BRR.

She stated that, "As you know, BRR can cause serious problems for both seed and commercial producers. BRR moves from farm to farm almost exclusively in seed potatoes. It has been shown to be the source of infection or outbraks of the disease over the last couple of decades.

Enright said to help the U.S. industry fully understand the transfer,  Canada provide the following:
1) Complete details of the find or finds in Canada.
2) History of the farms where finds occurred.
3) History of enforcement activities against farms suspected of BRR.
4) Process for notifying Canadian and U.S. growers of findings.
5) Description of current BRR surveillance procedures in place in Canada.
6) Mechanisms for effective trace back from farms to identify other growers.
7) How you identify lots/shipments impacted by shipments containing BRR, and
8) Process for preventing future transmission of BRR through seed.

Enright expressed urgency in the matter because it will assist the United States in assuring trading partners that the U.S. has BRR under control.

Sales of seed to some United States growers have already been curtailed. These growers say that since some Canadian areas have started producing commercial potatoes in the same area as seed potatoes, they have stopped buying Canadian seed.