California is experiencing a failure to communicate.
A few days back, the state Department of Food and Agriculture put out a press release to make it clear that the dreaded citrus disease Huanglongbing (HLB) does not exist in California.
When translated in Argentina, however, it was reported that the State of California was confirming the presence of disease in the Golden State.
The department was left playing catch up as the false reports went spinning around the globe.
“California does not have the citrus disease Huanglongbing, despite some erroneous reports to the contrary from Argentina that have appeared on the Internet,” said Michael T. Jarvis, deputy secretary for public affairs. “We continue to aggressively trap and test Asian Citrus Psyllid pests to make sure the disease does not exist in California. All tests have been negative to date.”
This time, California provided its own translations of the press release.
The $1.6 billion California citrus industry is serious about keeping HLB out.
The bacterial plant disease is not harmful to humans, but destroys the production, appearance and economic value of citrus trees and ruins the taste of fruit and juice.
Once a tree is infected, there is no cure.
The Asian citrus psyllid is the only insect known to carry HLB. The insect has shown up in part of Southern California. Some say organic farming is contributing to the invasion of the bug.
“Organic farming is an expensive luxury of city dwellers, who have never seen the soil, says screenwriter Gerald Maxey. “If we, as a society, put organic farming above the lives of oranges; well, you do the explaining to your children why they will never taste orange from a real orange.
HLB now takes about 5 percent of the citrus trees in Florida and caused the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) to impose restrictions on its citrus shipments.
First detected in Florida in 2005, the disease also known as citrus greening has spread to Georgia, Louisiana, and South Carolina.