P.E.I. police probe possible potato tampering
Police in Prince Edward Island are investigating a possible case of food tampering after a metal object was found inside two potatoes in separate incidents in Newfoundland and Labrador.
The first incident was reported in Labrador City, where a sewing needle was found in a potato supplied by the Summerside-based Linkletter Farms Ltd.
The second incident was reported in Noggin Corner, N.L.
A voluntary recall of Linkletter Farms’ potatoes has shut down the P.E.I. plant.
“We don't know what's going on, so rather than being sorry, we want to be safe,” says Linkletter Farms president Gary Linkletter.
The RCMP are now investigating the matter as a possible case of food tampering.
“We're interviewing people now and we are doing forensic testing. We have a team of people that are working on the file,” says P.E.I. RCMP Sgt. Leanne Butler.
Linkletter is confident the needle was inserted after it left his farm.
“We do have paper bags we sew, but it's a different type of needle. Police have asked for a sample of one of our needles so they can compare it,” says Linkletter.
Linkletter estimates more than 147,000 kilograms of his potatoes under the labels Link and Market Town are being pulled from store shelves across Atlantic Canada.
Linkletter Farms has been in his family for three generations and employs about 50 people. Linkletter says he isn’t sure why his potatoes are being targeted.
“We've been packing potatoes here a long time and never anything of concern of this nature. We have a very strong food safety program,” says Linkletter.
The Canadian Food Inspection Agency says there have been no confirmed illnesses or injuries associated with the consumption of potatoes from the farm, but it is warning consumers to carefully check them for foreign objects.
Police are asking anyone who finds a foreign metal in their potatoes to keep the potato, the metal object, and also the bag it came in, and to contact them.
With files from CTV Atlantic's Jonathan MacInnis