U.S. and Canada work to stop potato virus
PRESQUE ISLE, Maine (AP) -- U.S. and Canadian agriculture officials have announced a plan to stem a potato virus that has been discovered in Maine and eight other states.
Canada had stopped seed potato shipments and placed restrictions on other potatoes after the mop-top virus was discovered. The virus produces rings of discoloration inside potatoes that makes them unmarketable, but it is not harmful to people.
Details were still being worked out, but the plan will treat mop-top and a number of other potato viruses as manageable diseases that do not require quarantine.
Maine potato officials had been urging such an action since this summer, when mop-top was confirmed for the first time in the United States in a test sample at the University of Maine Research Farm in Presque Isle.
After the Presque Isle case was confirmed, the Canadian Food Inspection Agency said that tests conducted during the previous 18 months had uncovered 115 cases in samples of 2,500 loads from the nine states.