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Potatoes are seen at Linkletter Farms in Summerside, PEI, on April 23, 2013.

NATHAN ROCHFORD/The Globe and Mail

Prince Edward Island's potato industry has increased the reward it is offering to $500,000 for information that leads to the arrest and conviction of whomever is responsible for inserting metal objects into potatoes.

The new reward is available until Aug. 15, and tips received from Aug. 16 to Oct. 31 will be eligible for the previous reward amount of $100,000.

The federal government recently announced it will spend $1.5 million to buy metal detection equipment to help find foreign objects in potatoes from the province.

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The funding will be used to purchase and install detection equipment, while an extra $500,000 from the province is being used for on-site security assessments and training.

There have been several cases of metal objects being found in potatoes in Atlantic Canada, with most coming from a farm in P.E.I.

Police are investigating cases of metal objects found in potatoes sold in grocery stores in Nova Scotia, New Brunswick and Prince Edward Island.

The Canadian Food Inspection Agency has been supporting an ongoing investigation by the RCMP.

Alex Docherty, chairman of the P.E.I. Potato Board, said the incidents are having a financial impact on the industry.

"The scope of the investigation has widened in recent weeks, and recent incidents of food tampering involving Prince Edward Island potatoes have led our industry to increase the profile of this reward in order to maximize the chance that those responsible will be brought to justice," he said in a statement.

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