The USDA is increasing the number of areas in Florida under quarantine to halt the spread of citrus black spot (CBS).
Effective immediately, the Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS) is adding eight sections in Charlotte County, nine sections in Lee County, 28 sections in Hendry County, and five sections in Collier County to the list of restricted areas.
This action is in response to the discovery of CBS during the service's annual survey of groves and residential areas.
The disease can be hard to detect early because affected fruit typically shows no symptoms until after the leaves die. Symptoms of CBS are most evident on mature fruit, says the USDA.
Florida is no stranger to such quarantines. The service detected the citrus disease in Florida last year. However, the USDA notes that this is the first time APHIS has detected CBS on a residential property since 2010.
In response to the finding, APHIS is limiting the interstate movement of fresh citrus fruit and citrus plant parts.
It's also restricting the foreign trade of these products from the quarantine areas.
Fresh citrus fruit that is moved interstate from the CBS quarantine areas must be packed in commercial citrus packinghouses operating under a compliance agreement with APHIS.
Moreover, workers must process the fruit using APHIS-approved methods.
The USDA has prohibited people from moving citrus plant parts other than fresh fruit outside the quarantine area
It has provided a list of the current CBS quarantine areas, Federal Orders, and APHIS-approved packinghouse procedures at:
For additional information regarding the CBS Program, you may contact Citrus Health Response Program National Coordinator Angela McMellen-Brannigan at 301-851-2314.