Commitment to protect California agriculture subject of USDA visit
SACRAMENTO-In a meeting earlier this week, California Department of Food and Agriculture Secretary William (Bill) J. Lyons, Jr. thanked USDA Secretary Ann Veneman and Undersecretary Bill Hawks for a quick response to the recent discovery of live Medfly larvae in imported citrus.
Lyons and Hawks also conducted a round-table discussion in Sacramento with key agricultural leaders to discuss what actions the USDA and the CDFA can take to prevent a recurrence of the event.
“Close communication involving our two agencies and the agriculture industry is essential,” said Secretary Lyons. “We must work together against the constant threat posed by the Medfly and other exotic pests.”
So far, more than 243,000 pounds of Spanish Clementine—a type of tangerine—have been recalled in California. Inspectors have found a total of 209 Medfly larvae, 11 of them still alive. The shipments were found in a number of California counties.
The USDA has suspended all Spanish Clementine shipments and a team of federal inspectors has returned from a fact-finding visit to Spain. Future measures under consideration include an increase the number of exotic fruit fly traps in California next spring.
The Mediterranean fruit fly can infest more than 250 commercial crops in California. A widespread infestation could result in billions of dollars in losses to the California economy.
California Department of Food and Agriculture Office of Public Affairs
1220 N St., Ste. 214, Sacramento, CA 95814