Strict U.S. government oversight assures the safety and quality of U.S. potatoes from harvest to consumption. The United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) enforces standards through its Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS), Agricultural Marketing Service (AMS) and State Departments of Agriculture (SDA).
U.S. SEED STANDARDS
USDA agencies collaborate to ensure that certified U.S. seed potatoes meet stringent federal standards. For seed that is being exported, they also enforce the U.S. Export Standards for Seed Potatoes. The USDA also certifies that plant materials shipped to international markets meet any additional phytosanitary entry requirements of the destination country.
U.S. FRESH POTATO STANDARDS
After harvest, U.S. potatoes are carefully inspected. The USDA enforces quality standards relating to potato size, shape, and defects. It issues a grade for each potato. Keeping the different grades of potatoes separate ensures that purchasers receive the type and quality of potatoes for which they have contracted.
U.S. PROCESSED POTATO STANDARDS
U.S. potatoes destined for processing are also sorted and graded under USDA oversight. To ensure safety, every U.S. potato processor is closely regulated and monitored by inspectors from the USDA and must meet the strict Hazard Analysis & Critical Control Points (HACCP) requirements of the U.S. Food and Drug Administration. For some frozen and canned potato products, U.S. processing companies must also comply with government product specifications. The U.S. is the only country in the world that has mandatory government specifications for the quality and length of frozen fries.