Sweet Orange Scab Regulations Modified

Jim Rogers Diseases, Regulation

The conditions under which citrus fruit may be moved interstate from areas quarantined for sweet orange scab (SOS) when destined for processing or packing in a commercial citrus-producing state without a statewide SOS quarantine have been modified. The modification was made by the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (USDA APHIS).

Sweet Orange Scab
Sweet orange scab on fruit in Osceola (Kissimmee, FL). Sweet orange scab is a fungal disease of citrus. Although not harmful to humans, the pathogen causes unmarketable fruit and can stunt the growth of young trees. USDA photo by David Bartels

In 2010, APHIS published Federal Order DA-2010-62 that established conditions for the movement of regulated articles from SOS quarantine areas. Under a limited permit, it allowed the movement of citrus fruit that is practically free of leaves, stems or other regulated plant material from SOS quarantine areas for processing or packing in a commercial citrus-producing state without a statewide SOS quarantine. These conditions are included in Federal Order DA-2021-35, which superseded DA-2010-62.

The modification allows for the interstate movement of citrus fruit with attached stems and leaves from SOS quarantined areas for processing or packing in a commercial citrus-producing state without a statewide SOS quarantine. All other conditions for the movement of regulated articles from SOS quarantine areas are the same, including the requirement for producers, growers and packers to operate under a compliance agreement.

Spread of the fungal plant pathogen Elsinoë australis, the causal agent of SOS, is mitigated because vehicles transporting pallet boxes, field boxes, field bins, etc. must have the cargo area covered with a tarpaulin or otherwise covered in a manner that does not allow any openings greater than one-half inch.

Citrus Industry recently reported that APHIS in 2019 and 2020 conducted a pilot program to determine the efficacy of safeguards that would allow the interstate movement of citrus fruit from groves in Florida, near the Georgia state line, to a packinghouse in Georgia. Florida is currently quarantined under federal regulations for SOS and Georgia is not.

See more on sweet orange scab regulations here. Additional information regarding the SOS program may be obtained from APHIS Director of Specialty Crops and Cotton Pests Shailaja Rabindran at 301-851-2167.

Source: USDA APHIS

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