A Case Of Strange Bedfellows

Published online: Sep 03, 2004
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In what could be one of the strangest cases of potato industry "bedfellows" in history, a Canadian court is trying to sort out suits against the Canadian Food Inspection Agency by the Washington State Potato Commission and Canadian growers and their association.

Legal counsel representing Washington has cross-examined a key witness in the suit, according to a report in the Columbia Basin Herald newspaper dated August 31.

The WSPC recently sided with the CFIA to fight lawsuits filed by the Alberta potato growers. 

The matter involves  a seed potato farm in Alberta which allegedly sent potatoes with bacterial ring rot to a Washington state grower.

WSPC filed for access to information in records dealing with CFIA's investigations into the BRR case and the suspect farm operation.

The Potato Growers of Alberta and seven Alberta seed growers have filed suits to block the release of CFIA's information. The Federal Court has decided to combine the suits and await action by provincal court action.

WSPC's legal counsel believes the Alberta growers' lawsuits are entirely without merit. At one point during testimony, the witness for the growers said he had never seen the BRR records and had no idea what they contained or what the growers are trying to block.

The provincial court judge is expected to have a ruling this week.

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