Florida citrus ban

Dan Grech Jun 8, 2006


MARK AUSTIN THOMAS: If you live in California, Texas or any other citrus growing state, you won’t be able to buy Florida oranges in grocery stores. That’s because they’ve been banned by the US Department of Agriculture. Marketplace’s Dan Grech says the ban is a last-ditch attempt to stop the spread of something called citrus canker.

DAN GRECH: Citrus canker is a bacteria that reduces the number of oranges or grapefruit a tree can grow. The only treatment is to cut down and burn infected trees. Tens of thousands of trees have fallen in the past decade.

Now the USDA is banning Florida citrus fruit from six citrus-growing states, including California and Texas.

RAY GILMER: This is a $15 million hit.

That’s Ray Gilmer with the Florida Fruit & Vegetable Association. He says that’s a small fraction of Florida’s $9 billion annual market. But the fear is that major buyers like Europe might adopt a similar ban.

GILMER: If this turns into a change in the relationships with export partners, that could also present a much bigger financial hit.

The USDA has set aside $100 million to soften the impact of their new rule.

From Miami, I’m Dan Grech for Marketplace.

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