SACRAMENTO – The California Department of Food and Agriculture has published a report to the California Legislature entitled “Preventing Biological Pollution: The Mediterranean Fruit Fly Exclusion Program.” The 17-page report draws from the department’s efforts over the years to detect and eradicate new introductions of this pest from all over the globe, and makes the case that the spread of non-native, destructive pests amounts to costly—but preventable—biological pollution.
“Governor Davis is committed to funding our continued efforts to keep the Medfly out of California, as his budget proposal demonstrates,” said CDFA Secretary William (Bill) J. Lyons, Jr. “In light of California’s current fiscal pressures, at the legislature’s request, this report offers several funding options for consideration.”
Medflies attack crops by piercing the fruit or vegetable skin and laying eggs in the puncture. The eggs hatch into larvae that feed on the pulp, rendering the food unfit for human consumption. The Medfly is particularly threatening to California’s food supply because it thrives in our climate and on our broad array of crops.
In response to the Medfly threat, CDFA has developed a unique, environmentally friendly approach by raising millions of sterile male Medflies and releasing them within the high-risk area of the Los Angeles basin. These sterile males mate with any wild, fertile female flies that have been introduced. Reproduction is effectively curbed because the eggs resulting from these pairings with sterile males will not hatch.
The report is available on the internet at www.cdfa.ca.gov.
California Department of Food and Agriculture Office of Public Affairs
1220 N St., Ste. 214, Sacramento, CA 95814