P.E.I. potatoes recalled after possible tampering

Teresa Wright twright@theguardian.pe.ca
Published on October 7, 2014

Linkletter Farms in Summerside is a multi-generation family farm operation that grows approximately 1,500 acres of potatoes each year, according to the company's website. This photo, from the website, shows potatoes going through the processing line.

©Photo special to The Guardian

Potatoes grown and packaged on a farm in Prince Edward Island are being recalled and RCMP are investigating after a metal object was found inserted inside a potato.

On Oct. 6, P.E.I. RCMP were informed a potato in Labrador City, Newfoundland and Labrador had been found with a metal object inside.

The table potato is believed to have originated from Linkletter Farms, located in Summerside P.E.I.

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RCMP communications officer Sgt. Leanne Butler says police are treating this as a mischief investigation involving food tampering.

Tampering is a criminal offence.

Potatoes from this farm may have been sold throughout Atlantic Canada. That’s why RCMP are now asking the public to keep an eye on any potatoes sold under the labels distributed by Linkletter Farms.

“For public safety, if (anyone) finds a foreign metal object that obviously should not be in a potato, give our RCMP East Prince office a call and we’ll make arrangements to pick it up.”

Gary Linkletter, general manager of Linkletter Farms, requested the Canadian Food Inspection Agency to issue a voluntary recall of the potatoes to ensure the public is not at risk.

He saw a photo of the object, describing it as a “wire-like object, like a nail,” adding he is deeply concerned and shocked by this incident.

“We’ve been packing potatoes for decades and never had anything like this, just out of the blue this hit us,” Linkletter told The Guardian Tuesday.

“Our focus has always been on quality and service to our customers and food safety. We were one of the first farms in P.E.I. to have a food safety program, so when something like this happens, our programs kick in, we immediately contacted authorities and asked CFIA to take these products off the shelves.”

This will give all authorities involved time to analyze how this incident occurred and whether any other potatoes have been compromised, Linkletter said.

In addition to the recall, the company has halted all further shipments until the matter is resolved.

“We will recommence production only when we can once again assure consumers of our usual standards of high quality and food safety,” Linkletter said.

The CFIA issued the recall Tuesday afternoon, adding there have been no confirmed illnesses or injuries associated with the consumption of any P.E.I. potatoes. As a precaution, consumers should carefully check potatoes for foreign objects.

The RCMP major crime unit, forensic identification unit and members of the East Prince RCMP Detachment are all involved in the investigation.

 

Here is a list of the brand names of Linkletter Farms potatoes being voluntarily recalled:

- Market Town Co-op

- Link

- Link (Chef)

- Carr's (Blue Stripe)

- Carr's (Brown Stripe) Paper #2