Mediterranean Fruit Fly Quarantine Placed at Cal Poly Pomona

Mediterranean Fruit Fly Quarantine Placed at Cal Poly Pomona
Fruit fly quarantine area signs are posted in a Cal Poly Pomona grove near Kellogg and East Campus drives.

The United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) Animal & Plant Health Inspection Services has drawn a Mediterranean fruit fly quarantine zone around an area that includes the Cal Poly Pomona campus. As a result, the university cannot harvest or sell certain fruits until March 1. The quarantine zone was established on Dec. 16 after two fertile Mediterranean fruit flies, commonly called Medfly, were discovered in downtown Pomona. Medfly is one of the worlds most destructive agricultural pests, often attacking ripening fruit leaving it unfit to eat.

In response to the quarantine, university staff began conducting spray treatments that are monitored by the USDA on Dec. 24, and will continue to do so through October 2006. The spray, which attracts the flies, is approved by the Environmental Protection Agency and poses no health risk to humans.

This treatment, which will cost Cal Poly Pomona approximately $5,000, will allow the university to start harvesting and selling fruit around March 1. Until then, it is imperative that no on-campus fruit currently on a tree leaves the campus.

As a result of the quarantine, the university will lose all on-campus production of the Bacon and Zutano avocados, Satsuma mandarins and Neapolitan mandarins  an estimated loss of nearly $12,000. This, combined with the cost for treatment, will cost the university approximately $17,000.

Despite the loss of some campus fruit, the quarantine is expected to have minimal impacts on the Farm Store at Kellogg Ranch operations and no impact on university research projects.

The Farm Store will continue to sell navels, mandarins, avocados and other fruit harvested outside of the quarantine zone, including what is produced at the university's Pine Tree Ranch in Santa Paula.