ADVERTISEMENT
ADVERTISEMENT

USDA bans Florida citrus

Critics charge the decision -- to prevent the spread of citrus canker -- has no scientific basis

Anne Harding
The US Department of Agriculture plans to ban Florida from shipping fresh citrus fruit to other citrus-growing states in order to halt the spread of citrus canker. But critics say the semi-quarantine, set for the upcoming shipping season this fall, isn?t needed to prevent canker spread, and the USDA is instead simply setting up a trade barrier for the state.?Scientifically, it?s safe to ship this fruit as long as it?s been washed and waxed the way [Florida government regulators] propose to do it,? Dean Gabriel, a professor of plant pathology and citrus canker expert at the University of Florida in Gainesville, told The Scientist. ?The fact of the matter is USDA?s own scientists have concluded that asymptomatic fruit -- that is, fruit with no evidence of disease -- is not a pathway toward the spread of citrus canker,? Terence McElroy, press secretary for the Florida Department of...

Interested in reading more?

Become a Member of

Receive full access to more than 35 years of archives, as well as TS Digest, digital editions of The Scientist, feature stories, and much more!
Already a member?
ADVERTISEMENT