P.E.I. Potato Board commissions report after tampering

Consultant offers details on technology farmers could use to find foreign materials

Ryan Ross rross@theguardian.pe.ca
Published on February 11, 2015
P.E.I. Potato Board

As its industry dealt with cases of tampering, the P.E.I. Potato Board hired a consultant to look at technology farmers could use to find foreign materials.

In a report prepared for the board, Link Consulting said technologies it reviewed add value in reducing risk, but no one technology can remove all possible contaminants.

“Managing and implementing change to improve product safety is a difficult challenge,” the report said.

The board hired Link Consulting within weeks of the first reported case of a needle in a potato from Linkletter Farms in October.

Since then several more cases have been reported from the same farm and the Cavendish Farms processing plant.

The P.E.I. Potato Board has offered a $100,000 reward for information leading to the arrest of whoever is responsible.

RELATED: Still time to claim $100,000 for info on potato case

More related stories, click here

In December the board held a session with farmers about the Link Consulting report with a further workshop held on Jan. 20.

The report didn’t offer recommendations, other than saying each operation should investigate the best overall solution for them before making large investments.

Instead the report offered detailed information about different technologies available to detect foreign materials like pieces of metal, glass, plastic and rock.

Link Consulting looked at metal detectors, X-ray technology, near infrared technology and chemical imaging technology.

Each system detects different things such as using chemical imaging technology to find defects or X-rays to see inside potatoes.

The review found prices for the equipment Link Consulting looked at varied from $36,000 for a metal detector that can scan 50,000 pounds of potatoes per hour to a $636,000 chemical imaging technology scanner that can handle 100,000 pound per hour.

The P.E.I. Potato Board was contacted about the report but a spokesperson declined to comment.

 

rross@theguardian.pe.ca

twitter.com/ryanrross