The California Department of Food and Agriculture (CDFA), USDA, and the San Diego Agriculture Commission have completed the eradication of the Mexican fruit fly (MFF) and lifted the local quarantine in the Valley Center area of San Diego County.
The last wild MFF detection in the eradication area occurred on May 20, 2003. Based on the MFF eradication project life-cycle projection model, completion of the third generation of the first MFF find was September 20, 2003. On September 23, 2003, the project discontinued eradication efforts and lifted regulatory constraints. APHIS started parallel activities to lift the Federal quarantine on September 29, 2003.
The infestation was first detected on November 21, 2002, and the quarantine declared on December 5, 2002, for the Valley Center and surrounding areas of San Diego County. For the first time in a California fruit fly eradication program, the environmentally benign pesticide, Spinosad, was used. The organic formulation, GF120 NF, was available for use in the eradication project, thus protecting the organically grown status of host materials in the eradication area. The pesticide treatment regimen was followed by releases of sterile MFF and a period of intensive trapping according to State and Federal protocol.
During the quarantine, host material was not allowed to leave the regulated area unless certified. If left untreated, the infestation would have threatened fruit crops worth more than $75 million annually.