San Diego quarantine declared in agricultural fields

Category: News
Published: 2022-08-31
San Diego quarantine declared in agricultural fields

SAN DIEGO, CA – The California Department of Food and Agriculture (CDFA) declared a 77-square-mile quarantine covering Valley Center and surrounding areas on August 19 following the discovery of several Mexican fruit flies (MXFF), an agricultural pest that can infect more than 50 types of fruit, including citrus, avocados and a wide variety of tropical fruits.

According to San Diego County, CDFA officials have urged anyone growing or packing “host” fruit within the quarantine area – commercially or in private yards – not to move their produce off their property.

It was also reported that both local residents and home gardeners affected by the quarantine must consume home-grown produce, to include canning, freezing or juicing, and may not move host items from their property.

Fruits on the list include all types of tropical citrus, but also certain varieties of avocados, guavas, pomegranates and many exotic fruits grown in the area.

As of August 19, 2022, the quarantine area is bordered on the north by Pauma Valley; on the south by Lake Wohlford; on the west by Moosa Canyon; and on the east by the Rincon Preserve.

As the lead agency for a quarantine in California, CDFA is the designated point of contact for quarantine consultations and will also conduct informational meetings with commercial growers, nurseries, packers, and residents within the affected area.

In addition, it was noted that the County Department of Agriculture, Weights and Measures (AWM) is supporting CDFA during the quarantine to help prevent the spread of the detected pest and any expansion of the area. AWM has alerted agricultural stakeholders in the area of the findings, including the San Diego County Farm Bureau, and as the host county, will assist CDFA with outreach and facilitation of meetings with growers.

In addition, the County will also work with growers adjacent to the quarantine zone to help lessen the impact of a potential quarantine expansion and is responsible for regulating all pesticide use.

Mexican fruit flies, which are larger than a house fly, can cause costly agricultural destruction. In the region, the 2020 crop value of MXFF hosts in San Diego County was $306 million. 

Within the quarantine boundaries, the agricultural value is $49 million; while the total value in San Diego County, is $1.8 billion.

Female flies inject their eggs into ripening fruit. The hatched larvae eat the flesh of the fruit, causing it to rot and fall to the ground.