U.S. and Canada Establish Protocol for Potato Pest Detection and Response

The USDA’s Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service in coordination with the Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA) has developed a joint protocol to implement immediate response measures if future detections of potato cyst nematodes are found in either Canada or the United States. The establishment of this protocol will immediately allow trade between the two countries – which was previously halted due to the detections of these nematodes – to resume for certain articles from areas within Idaho and the province of Quebec.

This science-based protocol is in response to the 2006 detections of potato cyst nematodes – the pale cyst nematode, Globodera pallida, in Idaho and the golden nematode, Globodera rostochiensis, in Quebec. The goal of this joint agreement is to maintain the safe movement of articles between the United States and Canada while continuing to protect against the spread of potato cyst nematodes.

USDA and CFIA have agreed on specific science-based guidelines and procedures for defining the extent of an infestation and establishing appropriate regulated areas. This action will allow both countries to maintain pest-free status outside of the regulated areas and will help minimize disruptions in the movement of regulated articles.

Immediately upon detection of either the pale cyst nematode or golden nematode, the respective national plant protection organization will impose restrictions on infested fields, initiate an investigation that will include trace forward and trace back activities, and also conduct delimiting surveys to determine the extent and, if possible, the source of the infestation. Based on this information, regulated areas will be established. The United States and Canada will notify each other of any new finds outside a regulated area in a timely manner, as well as provide on-going updates of the situation.

The golden nematode and the potato cyst nematode are recognized internationally as quarantine plant pests; however they do not pose a threat to human health. If left uncontrolled, these pests have the potential to cause significant damage to potato crops. The economic impact of these nematodes can be high due to crop losses, pest management expenses and market access interruptions.

Originally posted Monday, Oct. 9, 2006