Spain's Department of Agriculture, Fisheries, and Food has formally approved the import of potatoes from the UK to the Canary Islands.
This move comes after the regional government's announcement that the national authority has permitted the import of these tubers from the UK, with the exception of Kent due to the detection of the Colorado beetle.
The approval is grounded on assurances from the UK's plant health authorities, confirming that the beetle hasn't settled in the UK and that the UK government has taken necessary actions in the affected regions.
Narvay Quintero, the Regional Councillor, stated, "While the Canary Islands' government doesn't hold authority in this domain, we've collaborated with Spain's central government and local growers to address the potato deficit. Our goal is to shield the Canary Islands from this beetle, ensure a prosperous upcoming harvest, and maintain a consistent supply of this vital food staple."
Alongside the import approval, there are added stipulations regarding the packaging and labelling of the incoming potatoes to bolster plant health assurances. As per the updated guidelines, imported potatoes must be meticulously cleaned, either by brushing or washing, to remove any remnants of soil and harmful entities.
The soil content in the imported potatoes must not surpass 0.5%. The labels should provide crucial details about the potatoes, including type, grower's code, variety, size, and packaging date, as well as traceability information pinpointing the grower and the exact cultivation area.
Specifically, seed potatoes must be packed in brand-new bags, each with a maximum weight of 25 kilograms. These bags must be securely sealed and labelled at approved sites to ensure their quality and traceability. All these processes will be supervised by the relevant plant health authorities from the production regions.
Regarding potatoes meant for direct consumption, they can be packed in containers holding up to 1.5 tonnes. These containers also need to be sealed and labelled at certified sites, ensuring their quality and traceability. Just like seed potatoes, their handling will be under the strict watch of plant health authorities.
To uphold these standards, every potato consignment from the UK will undergo inspections. These precautions are in place to safeguard the Canary Islands' agricultural environment and guarantee a dependable and safe potato supply for its inhabitants.