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Potato wart facts and figures

Potato wart is a soil-borne fungus, Synchytrium endobioticum, that can remain dormant in a field for more than 40 years.

Although potato wart poses no threat to human health or food safety, it does have a financial impact on potato growers by reducing their yield and making potatoes unmarketable. While potato wart naturally spreads slowly within a field, it often spreads rapidly within and to other fields by the movement of soil in association with farm equipment, cultivation practices, movement and planting of seed potato tubers from infected fields.

In Canada and many other countries, potato wart is a regulated pest. The Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA) implemented control measures to help contain, control, and prevent the spread of potato wart both domestically and internationally.

Plant pests, such as potato wart, are regulated under the Plant Protection Act (PPA). When a regulated pest is detected a written notice is issued and outlines requirements under the Plant Protection Regulations. For example, it may trigger land-use restrictions, movement controls, requirements for equipment to be free from soil, soil sampling, and testing. The fungus is extremely persistent and the only efficient way to control the disease is to prevent the spread to new locations.

About potato wart in PEI

Value of potatoes

About PEI potato exports to the U.S.

Next steps for PEI potatoes

While the CFIA investigations into the two 2021 potato wart detections on PEI are now complete and the Ministerial Order remains in effect, there is still more work to do. CFIA continues to engage with stakeholders on the next steps including:

Learn more about potato wart and the investigations in Prince Edward Island.

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