Potential human resistance to antibiotics as a result of bactericide use to treat HLB is the apparent topic of upcoming media stories. The Florida Department of Citrus (FDOC) has recently responded to national and local reporters’ questions about the topic. Questions “have mostly touched on resistance in humans,” according to an FDOC spokesperson. The spokesperson said the reporters were with a national newspaper and a Florida television station, but that neither outlet had published a story as of Monday.
“The FDOC is working with reporters to provide the resources necessary to contribute fair and balanced perspectives to the story,” the spokesperson said. She explained those perspectives: “The Florida citrus industry has been battling citrus greening for well over a decade. Growers need tools to combat the disease and continue to provide nutritious and delicious citrus to consumers. Bactericides are just one tool in the toolbox. Not all Florida growers use these tools, but those that do use them in strict adherence to restrictions set by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) with safety as the number-one priority.”
“Florida citrus growers are great stewards of the environment, and we share that fact with anyone seeking to learn more about our industry,” the FDOC spokesperson added.
EPA approved several bactericides for use to treat HLB a few years ago. Many growers tried the products and reported mixed results. Some growers think the bactericides have improved tree health and yield; others report seeing no improvement or minimal improvement.
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