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Claude Knighten (301) 734-5271
Jerry Redding (202) 720-6959

WASHINGTON, Dec. 22, 2006-The USDA Undersecretary Bruce Knight today announced that China has lifted its ban on citrus from Fresno County, Calif., due to an earlier infestation of peach fruit fly.

"This decision comes as Fresno's citrus producers are approaching the height of their shipping season,” Knight said. “I'm pleased that China evaluated the data we provided and made a science-based decision to lift all restrictions.”

USDA's Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS) and the California Department of Food and Agriculture (CDFA) declared Fresno and Madera counties in California free of the peach fruit fly, Bactrocera zonata, on July 28, and removed established quarantines in both counties.

The infestation resulted in several countries imposing restrictions on citrus from Fresno County. Today's announcement is the culmination of efforts by APHIS and USDA's Foreign Agricultural Service and the result is that all trading partners have now removed peach fruit fly-related import restrictions on Fresno County. The Chinese market is worth approximately $15 to $20 million annually for Fresno county citrus producers.

Agriculture officials established the peach fly quarantines on May 24, after six adult flies were detected from May 15 through May 20. The quarantine covered the detection sites and a buffer zone extending approximately 4.5 miles in each direction. During the quarantine, host crops of the pest were not allowed out of the area unless they were treated or processed as authorized. In addition, residents and people moving through the area were asked not to move backyard fruits out of the quarantine zone.

To eradicate the pest, CDFA officials treated a 25-square-mile area surrounding the detections using a strong attractant, methyl eugenol, mixed with the pesticide dibrom applied to telephone poles and tree trunks to attract and kill the pests. Additionally, a foliar bait spray was applied in the immediate vicinity of the adult detections. The quarantine ended after weeks of intense trapping to ensure that the infestation had been successfully eradicated.


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