The United States government and the citrus industry have taken steps to stop the spread of citrus diseases, including quarantines of affected areas, inspection of host plants, removal of infected plants, confiscation of illegally shipped plants, USDA certification of citrus and public education campaigns. Here is what you can do to practice safe citrus:
- Know the facts about citrus diseases
- Get the word out: tell others about citrus diseases
- If you suspect citrus is being moved improperly, report your concerns to USDA’s Smuggling Interdiction and Trade Compliance toll-free hotline at (800) 877-3835
- Don’t move citrus plants or plant materials out of quarantined states or territories including Alabama, American Somoa, Arizona, California, Florida, Georgia, Guam, Hawaii, Louisiana, Mississippi, Northern Mariana Islands, Puerto Rico, South Carolina, Texas and the U.S. Virgin Islands.
- Be a savvy buyer. Gift citrus fruit sold in a regulated state must be packed in a certified packinghouse and accompanied by a USDA certificate. Commercial fruit packers, Internet shippers and roadside vendors within regulated states should be able to prove they are in compliance with the federal quarantine. Before you buy, ask the vendor if their product is in compliance.
- Be aware that if you knowingly purchase citrus in violation of quarantine regulations and requirements, the penalties you could incur range from $1,100 to $60,000 per violation.
Citrus Owners and Homegrowers:
- Inspect citrus plants regularly for disease and insects
- If you detect an infected plant, report it immediately
- Enjoy your fruit with friends and neighbors, but be sure to obtain a federal certificate if you transport your citrus outside of your state. To inquire about transporting your citrus out of state, contact your USDA State Plant Health Director’s office.