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Potato virus no threat to New Zealand chip supply

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The potato mop-top virus was discovered in potatoes grown on two Canterbury properties last month. In an update to industry stakeholders this week, Potatoes New Zealand (PNZ) and Biosecurity New Zealand said 18 more farms in the Canterbury region had been added to the suspect list and testing had been widened to the North Island.

Although the virus had been found in Innovator potatoes, a variety used for hot chips, there was no cause for alarm among fish and chip fans, PNZ said: "The virus has been found in a very small, contained area and MPI is sampling across New Zealand as a precaution."

The mop-top virus exists in a lot of foreign countries as well. It could be managed if it was found to be widespread here. It's in the United States and Europe and they still have plenty of hot chips.

Infected potatoes showed symptoms like distortions to the skin, deep cracking, and discolouration that made them unsuitable for processing. The Ministry for Primary Industries said the virus was not a food safety issue but if found to be wide-spread, could cause some productivity issues for growers.