California's Department of Food and Agriculture plans to continue efforts to eliminate an invasive moth that it says poses a risk to fruit and ornamental plants, despite protests from scientists and environmentalists who say the measures are unnecessary.
Moth detection has led to quarantines in 3,500 square miles in 15 counties, including Los Angeles, causing millions of dollars in lost revenue, said Michael Jarvis, deputy secretary for public affairs at the California Department of Food and Agriculture.
"We're doing everything we can to stop it in its tracks," Jarvis said.
Light brown apple moth caterpillars burrow into berries, rendering them inedible. Produce from areas under quarantine cannot be moved without a certificate from a county, state or federal authority saying that the product is free of the pest.
Critics say that the quarantine and other measures are too drastic, and that the state should manage the pest instead of spending millions of dollars trying to eradicate it.