California, Florida Embroiled In Citrus Wars

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(Sacramento, CA)
Wednesday, December 19, 2007

Florida agriculture officials say the quarantine protects their state's citrus industry from a fungus. But Joel Nelson with the California Citrus Mutual says he thinks the quarantine is payback. He says federal officials gave California its own ban on Florida citrus over worries about bacterial disease. 

"The (U.S.) Department of Agriculture is allowing Florida to ship fruit out of a disease infested area but just not into our state, Texas or Arizona and the Florida Department of Agriculture blames us for that." 

The judge ruled Wednesday that California citrus growers failed to show the quarantine is unconstitutional. The citrus industries in the two states are about equal in size, but most of Florida's oranges are turned into juice, while the bulk of California's crop is sold as fresh fruit.