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Claude Knighten  (301) 734-5271
Jerry Redding      (202) 720-4623            

USDA MAKES FINAL EXOTIC FRUIT FLY STRATEGIC PLAN AVAILABLE TO PUBLIC

WASHINGTON, Oct. 23, 2006--The U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service today released a revised plan to further protect the health and value of American agricultural resources against the introduction and establishment of exotic fruit fly pests.

APHIS’ plant protection and quarantine program officials updated the Exotic Fruit Fly Strategic Plan, which was first released in February, after receiving comments from stakeholders, cooperators and the general public.  Comments on the plan’s proposed closure of the sterile Mediterranean fruit fly production facility in Waimanalo, Hawaii, has prompted APHIS officials to invite interested parties to submit an “expression of interest” to partner with APHIS to produce sterile fruit flies at a federal rearing facility, or to purchase the insects from a privately owned company, state or foreign government.

The Exotic Fruit Fly Strategic Plan is an integrated, multi-faceted approach that incorporates surveillance activities, control programs and regulatory actions to safeguard American agriculture against a number of fruit fly species, including Mediterranean (Medfly), Mexican and Oriental fruit flies.

Increased globalization of the transportation industry and increased availability of affordable travel can inadvertently create pathways for exotic fruit fly introductions here in the United States.  To address these realities and safeguard against a pest that attacks more than 400 host plants, APHIS is taking a global approach and will focus on achieving five priorities:

  • Preventing individual fruit fly introductions from becoming established populations in the continental United States;
  • Reducing the imminent threat of introductions or spread of Medfly and Mexican fruit fly populations in Mexico;
  • Lessening the impact of Mexican fruit flies currently established in portions of Texas;
  • Supporting the development of fruit fly detection and control programs in the Caribbean Basin and Central America to reduce the threat they present and
  • Reducing the entry risk by providing technical support worldwide.

Over the next five years, APHIS officials, working with both domestic and international partners, intend to bolster USDA’s capacity to control exotic fruit flies, one of the most

destructive pests of fruits and vegetables in the world.  The agency has set three goals in its plan to protect host commodities valued at more than $7.2 billion on the open market.

Through fruit fly exclusion and detection programs, APHIS will:

  • Enhance detection and response capabilities and strengthen preventive release programs;
  • Ensure Medfly does not move north of the state of Chiapas, Mexico; and
  • Eradicate the Mexican fruit fly from Texas and northern Mexico along the Lower Rio Grande Valley.

  • The Mediterranean fruit fly (Ceratitis capitata), commonly called Medfly, or Moscamed in Spanish, is one of the world's most destructive agricultural pests.  The female Medfly attacks ripening fruit, piercing the soft skin and laying eggs in the puncture.  The eggs hatch into larvae (maggots), which feed inside the fruit pulp.

Notice of this plan is scheduled for publication in the Oct. 24 Federal Register.

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