Investigation continues into tainted P.E.I. potatoes

Eric McCarthy newsroom@journalpioneer.com
Published on March 4, 2015

A potato with a metal object was found in a bag of Linkletter Farms potatoes sold in Carmenville, N.L. This discovery comes a day after a similar incident in Labrador City, N.L. also involving a potato from the Summerside farm.

©Submitted photo

The investigation into a food tampering case involving sewing needles inserted into potatoes is still active, reports Prince Edward Island RCMP spokeswoman Sgt. Leanne Butler.

Butler said the RCMP is still waiting for some lab results in connection with the ongoing investigation.

The Prince Edward Island government and the potato industry established a $50,000 reward in November seeking information which would identify and lead to charges against the person(s) responsible for the food tampering incidents. The reward was subsequently doubled to $100,000 and the deadline for providing information extended to the end of April.

In its latest industry newsletter, the Prince Edward Island Potato Board outlines measures it has taken in response to the tampering, including commissioning a report on the types and costs of equipment available to detect foreign material and hosting two workshops to present the findings.

As well, the P.E.I. Department of Agriculture and Forestry, through its Growing Forward2 Assurance Assistance Program, is offering to cover 35 per cent of the cost, up to $30,000, to assist growers and packing sheds install foreign material-detecting equipment, and up to 35 per cent of the cost up to $100,000 for custom service providers of such equipment. Additionally, the Atlantic Canada Opportunities Agency, the Potato Board indicates in its newsletter, will provide interest-free loans for up to 50 per cent the cost of the specialized equipment.