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MEDFLY PROJECT OFFICIALS ANNOUNCE CHANGES IN MEDFLY ERADICATION PROGRAM

 LOS ANGELES, Jan. 13 /PRNewswire/ -- Cooperative Medfly Project officials today announced changes to the Medfly eradication program in Southern California which involves the widespread release of sterile Medflies throughout the Los Angeles Basin for a two-year period beginning March 1, 1994.
 Project officials will release about 575 million sterile Medflies each week in a 1,391 square mile area encompassing portions of Los Angeles, Orange and San Bernardino counties, and does not call for aerial spraying in the Los Angeles Basin.
 "We are taking this aggressive approach to eradicating the Medfly infestations to ensure that we eliminate the Medfly threat in Southern California to prevent the spread to other areas," said Henry Voss, secretary of the California Department of Food and Agriculture.
 In Riverside County, according to Project officials, changes in the eradication plan also include the aerial application of malathion/bait mixture over 18 square miles in the Corona area, beginning Jan. 24 at 9 p.m.
 The use of bait with malathion does not pose a health threat to the general public. Medical studies, including those done for the California Department of Health Services shows that malathion, as used in Medfly eradication programs, does not pose a significant health threat to persons living in the treatment area.
 This proactive method of eradicating Medfly infestations is to prevent a Japanese embargo of all California produce that is host material to the Medfly.
 If Japan were to quarantine California produce throughout the state, the economic impact to California would be hundreds of millions of dollars each year, and if other Asian countries followed suit, the economic loss would be much higher. If Medflies become established in California, studies have shown the economic impacts to the state could exceed $900 million a year in lost jobs, lost exports and increased costs for pesticides by growers and urban residents to keep Medfly maggots out of their fruits and vegetables.
 A mated female Medfly was found in the City of Corona on Dec. 17. There are currently 2,400 acres of citrus and avocados -- both Medfly host fruit -- in the Corona area of Riverside county that have been quarantined.
 Residents in the treatment area will receive written notifications distributed by the California Conservation Corps, asking them to cover their cars before the 9 p.m. treatment on Jan. 24. If shelter is unavailable, the car should be washed the following morning to prevent paint damage by the bait spray. Also, organizations such as schools and day care centers will receive advance notice of the treatment, coupled with informational documents on the safety of the treatment process.
 -0- 1/13/94
 /CONTACT: Larry Hawkins, information officer of the Cooperative Medfly Project, 213-626-4820; Carl DeWing, communications officer of the Department of Food and Agriculture, 916-654-0462; Leon Spaugy, Los Angeles County Agricultural Commissioner, 818-575-5471; or James Wallace, Riverside County Agricultural Commissioner, 714-275-3000/


CO: Cooperative Medfly Project; California Department of Food and
 Agriculture ST: California IN: AGR FOD SU:


TM-MC -- SF015 -- 1847 01/13/94 15:37 EST
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Publication:PR Newswire
Date:Jan 13, 1994
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