Monday, November 19, 2007

Potato Problems

This first article is incoherent. Noonan general manager of the PEI potato board says that if the Algerians consider them Canadian potatoes then it will be a black mark. But they are Canadian potatoes.
The first article does not make it very clear that there were two batches of potatoes in the load: one from Quebec and one from PEI. The Quebec potatoes were the ones that turned out to have ring rot but the PEI potatoes were disease free. THe second article clears this up. I wonder if any fish are fond of raw potatoes?
I find it rather surprising that the government would let the ship load the potatoes for export and set forth without proper inspection completed. It is just asking for trouble of this sort.

Canadian potatoes turned away from Algeria
Last Updated: Monday, November 19, 2007 | 7:08 AM AT
CBC News
A Canadian boat that's been trying to unload its cargo of potatoes in Algeria for the past few weeks has been forced to leave that country.

The ship loaded its cargo in Summerside, P.E.I.

The 3,800-tonne shipment included potatoes from P.E.I. and Quebec. After the ship left port, lab results from the Canadian Food Inspection Agency showed that the Quebec potatoes were infested with ringrot.

While ringrot does not harm humans, it spoils potatoes for sale and is banned for import to Algeria.

Some Algerian media called it a mortal disease, and Canadian authorities tried unsuccessfully to clear up the confusion.

The cargo, which now faces being dumped into the sea, belongs to a Montreal export company called Canadian Agricultural Produce.

"The Algerian authorities told the Canadian embassy that Algeria doesn't trust potatoes from Canada anymore," said Chafika Boudjelida, the exporter of the potatoes, speaking in French to CBC News.

The Canadian Food Inspection Agency said the boat was rejected because the certification documents presented to Algerian authorities were different from those sent from Canada.

Ivan Noonan called the incident a black mark on the reputation of Canadian potatoes.
Ivan Noonan, general manager of the P.E.I. Potato Board, called the incident bad news for Canada.

"[If] Algeria considers them to be Canadian potatoes," said Noonan, "then it's a black mark."

Noonan said even though the P.E.I. potatoes were certified and free of all diseases, the Algerian incident will hurt the reputation of all Canadian producers and exporters.

Here is the second article at CBC

Fate of potatoes shipped to Algeria uncertain
Last Updated: Friday, November 2, 2007 | 5:12 PM AT
CBC News
A boatload of potatoes shipped from P.E.I. to Algeria is being unloaded, at least partially, following reports of ring rot-infected potatoes on board.

The issue first came to public attention in the P.E.I. legislature Thursday. Agriculture critic Jim Bagnall pressured the government for information on the shipment. Few details were forthcoming at that time.

The Canadian Food Inspection Agency has confirmed to CBC News that there are ring rot-infected potatoes on the ship, but the potatoes in question are from Quebec. Algeria requires that imported potatoes be free of ring rot.

Produce from P.E.I. was also on board, but standard testing found it to be free of ring rot, and since it was stored separately on the ship, it is being unloaded.

The fate of the Quebec potatoes is not yet known. CFIA said the potatoes were shipped before lab results were returned, and so went out at the exporter's risk.

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