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U.S. bans import of clementines because of fears over fly larvae This story was published in A-section on Sunday, December 9, 2001.
The Associated Press
WASHINGTON - Christmas may come and go without clementines, the Spanish fruit that went from popular stocking stuffer to winter staple.
The U.S. government has suspended imports of the oranges and ordered them removed from stores in 17 warm-weather states, all to prevent spread of the Mediterranean fruit fly.
Fruit in those 17 states must be destroyed or shipped to a colder site. Given the cost of shipping, much of the fruit is expected to be destroyed.
The Agriculture Department said Thursday that fly larvae had been found in Spanish clementines in Maryland, North Carolina and Louisiana. California officials were investigating an additional finding in a San Jose, Calif., store.
The decision allows U.S. clementines and fruit from countries other than Spain, such as Israel. But the Spanish oranges dominate the market.
The Medfly is one of the world's most destructive agricultural pests, threatening more than 250 kinds of fruits, nuts and vegetables.
"If it was allowed to become established, the losses would be in the billions of dollars," said Steve Lyle of the California Food and Agriculture Department.
States affected by the ban are Alabama, Arizona, Arkansas, California, Florida, Georgia, Louisiana, Mississippi, North Carolina, Nevada, New Mexico, Oklahoma, Oregon, South Carolina, Tennessee, Texas and Washington.
The Agriculture Department first suspended imports of Spanish clementines on Nov. 30 after larvae were found in clementines in Maryland and North Carolina.
Published in the A-section section of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch on Sunday, December 9, 2001. Copyright (C)2001, St. Louis Post-Dispatch
-- Anonymous, December 09, 2001