Across Regions

Potato grower stuggles to remove CIPC traces from storage facilities

Dear readers, back in November last year I published a news item here on Potato News Today regarding a potato grower in France who is in real trouble, needing some means to clean his potato storage facilities of CIPC and CIPC traces at all.

Victor Leforestier – the grower in France- had some great responses from potato folks since I published the news item here, but he is still not convinced that he has found an answer to his problem… With his permission, I now publish below what Victor told me about his problem… If any of you folks can possibly help him with a solution, please get in touch?

I talked to Gary White of White Air Solutions in the UK yesterday, and his technology looks amazing, not only for potatoes but for all vegetables. He has done some work with universities or growers to prove the benefit of his machine and it looks like a viable replacement of CIPC. At the moment the only options are mint oil or ethylene. They both have undesirable effect of potatoes, either taste or increase sugar so they’re not the optimum.

So, Gary’s PCO machine could help on the CIPC ban, but it still doesn’t give a clear response of whether or not it is possible to clean a building of CIPC. To this question the answer is getting closer to “no it is not possible”. Some growers I know found some traces of CIPC on a variety that was stored without it. The dust on the equipment and possibly the boxes was enough to pollute the lot above the level of detection!

Victor Leforestier is a potato grower in Normandy, west of France. He stores 1,800 tonnes of potatoes, half for the fresh market (in wooden boxes), and half for processing (ventilated slated floor). He is grappling with the problem of a coming ban of CIPC in France.

“We’ve used CIPC in our storages since it was available, but now it seems that the end of this product in France is very near, probably a matter of weeks now,” he told Potato News Today. Victor expresses a concern about the complete removal of CIPC residue in his storages – a problem that many other potato growers like him are grappling with in the wake of a ban on the use of CIPC.

Says Victor: “There are some alternatives coming onto the market so I’m not worried that we can replace the product, BUT now how do we clean the product off our storages? Apparently water will only wash the dust but will not “unstick” the product from a hard surface.”

He is considering to switch to organic production, saying that regulators don’t want any CIPC residues on any potatoes after it’s been banned. “I don’t plan on burning my potato building down to build new ones…” he says.

Any of our readers are welcome to contact Victor directly if they have suggestions on how to solve this very real and practical problem. He can be reached at victor.leforestier@gmail.com. His Twitter handle is  @VictorHolistic. Also feel free to contact me with ideas in this regard that I can share with others here on Potato News Today: lukie@potatonewstoday.com