If you are looking to give a thoughtful, healthy gift this holiday season, citrus is the way to go. But beware of infected citrus fruit and plants, especially if you plan to buy citrus online.
Before you give citrus, here are four things you should know:
1. Be Aware of Quarantines. If you are thinking about giving citrus fruit, plants, or items made with citrus (such as floral arrangements, wreaths, potpourri or seasonings like kaffir lime leaves), be sure not to move them from quarantined states or territories. Not only are you risking spreading citrus diseases by transporting citrus outside of these areas, but it’s also against the law. Review the quarantine map.
2. Check the Citrus Supplier. Be a savvy buyer. Gift citrus fruit sold in a regulated state must be packed in a certified packinghouse and accompanied by a USDA certificate. Commercial fruit packers, Internet shippers and roadside vendors within regulated states should be able to prove they are in compliance with the federal quarantine. Before you buy, ask the vendor if their product is in compliance. Review the quarantine map.
3. Keep Homegrown Citrus at Home. Help reduce the spread of citrus diseases by not moving your homegrown citrus fruit or plants across state lines. Enjoy your fruit with friends and neighbors, but be sure to obtain a federal certificate if you’re thinking of transporting your citrus outside of your state. To inquire about transporting your citrus out of state, contact your USDA State Plant Health Director’s office.
4. Avoid Fines and Penalties. Because citrus diseases have destroyed millions of acres of citrus around the world, they present an immediate and urgent threat to America. If you knowingly purchase citrus in violation of quarantine regulations and requirements, the penalties you could incur range from $1,100 to $60,000 per violation. If you suspect citrus is being moved improperly, report your concerns to USDA’s Smuggling Interdiction and Trade Compliance toll-free hotline at (800) 877-3835.
To learn more, follow the 12 Days of Citrus on facebook.com/saveourcitrus and twitter.com/saveourcitrus, or visit our website.