Japan to Open Market to U.S. Potatoes

Japan is set to reopen its market to U.S. chipping potatoes following the completion of a scientific evaluation, according to a Feb. 9 statement from the USDA Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS).

Japan temporarily suspended imports from the U.S. of all varieties of chipping potatoes in April 2006 immediately following the first U.S. detection of potato cyst nematode (PCN), Globodera pallida, in Idaho.

After conducting a detailed scientific evaluation, Japanese officials concluded that the isolated detection presents no risk of introducing PCN in Japan if the United States takes the following actions:

1. The potatoes may only be shipped from Arizona, Wisconsin, Oregon, California, Colorado, Texas, New Mexico, North Dakota, Florida, Michigan, Minnesota, Maine and Washington.

2. The potato fields must be tested and certified to be free of PCN prior to export.

3. The potatoes must be washed before exporting.

Before Idaho is eligible to export chipping potatoes to Japan, the state must complete a comprehensive PCN survey. Currently, all U.S. chipping potatoes exported to Japan must be grown from seed potatoes produced outside of Idaho. APHIS will continue to work with Idaho and Japan to allow for the export of chipping potatoes from Idaho.

Originally posted Monday, Feb. 12, 2007