Mothra Update

Share this post

LBAMIn March, California held senate hearings on the status of the state’s eradication program for the Light Brown Apple Moth (LBAM). FruitGuys founder and CEO Chris Mittelstaedt testified in defense of small family farmers whose farms have been hurt by the current California Department of Food and Agriculture (CDFA) practice to quarantine farms and sale of their produce whenever any caterpillar, LBAM or not, is found on the property until it is identified. Mittelstaedt asked why apples from New Zealand, where the moth is also present, are allowed to be sold in the U.S. while California farmers, who may or may not have the moth present, are not allowed to sell theirs under the quarantine rules.

“I draw two main conclusions from observing and talking with the small farmers that we work with. The first, as you will hear, is that it is truly the quarantine and not the moth that is most damaging to small California farmers. The second, as I will explain, is that the light brown apple moth quarantine is inadvertently creating international trade policy that benefits international farmers importing product from countries that do not quarantine for the light brown apple moth over our own local, California growers who are having to exist under the terms of this quarantine,” Mittelstaedt testified March 23, 2010.

The LBAM is native to Australia where it reportedly has not posed a risk to agriculture and is kept in check by natural predators. It has spread to New Zealand, Hawaii, and California. The LBAM is a “leaf-roller” which feeds off of the leaves of grape vines and fruit trees. There is disagreement between state officials and farmers as to the damage the moth can cause, with farmers saying there is none to the fruit itself.

Chris told the story of Blue Moon Organics, a family-run strawberry farm in Aptos, CA, which was quarantined twice during the summer of 2009 by the CDFA. Both times the caterpillar and larvae found turned out to be native leaf rollers and not LBAM. “In total ”¦ Greg lost $40,000 in revenue and had to pay his workers to pick crop that was thrown away. He is still trying to recover from a year that includes this unexpected economic damaged suffered from a quarantine that wasted his time and money as well as the taxpayers for a moth that, according to Greg and other farmers we work with as well as scientists both here and abroad, this is not a threat to farmer’s crop what so ever,” he said.

The FruitGuys has been following the LBAM controversy since the moth was first confirmed in California in 2007. Currently 13 counties in north and central California, including urban San Francisco, are under LBAM quarantine from the state, which is completing an environmental impact report regarding plans to eradicate the moth.

You can read Chris’ full story here or see his video testimony.

- Pia Hinckle


Subscribe to the WEEKLY BITE

* indicates required


Recent The FruitLife articles:

Beehives, swales, and vermicomposting, oh my!
April 29, 2019
Spring fruit varieties and how to enjoy them
April 16, 2019
A tribute to the “Lemon Lady” of Redwood City
March 11, 2019
The FruitGuys New Year’s poem
January 8, 2019
Sowing the seeds of entrepreneurship
October 31, 2018
Give the delicious gift of farm-fresh fruit and healthy snacks
October 4, 2018
Summer to fall transition brings new fruit into the rotation
October 2, 2018
Bring some fruitful fun to your workplace on Tuesday, October 2
September 27, 2018
Farmer suicide is a public health threat and could hurt our food supply
August 14, 2018
How to keep your favorite fruit fresh through the summer heat
July 19, 2018

More recent articles:

Best onboarding practices
May 21, 2019
Quick, easy steps to spruce up your office space
May 14, 2019
Grilled portobello recipe
May 9, 2019
How to prepare physically and mentally for race day
May 9, 2019
Three simple ways to enjoy watermelon radishes
May 2, 2019
Easy spring salad recipe
April 25, 2019
Reduce plastic use with these earth-friendly alternatives
April 22, 2019
History of the tomato
April 18, 2019
How to make sure you’re getting enough iron in your diet
April 11, 2019
How fostering psychological safety increases performance
April 8, 2019

About Us

Our online magazine offers a taste of workplace culture, trends, and healthy living. It features recipes for easy, delicious work meals and tips on quick office workouts. It's also an opportunity to learn about our GoodWorks program, which helps those in need in our communities and supports small, sustainable farms.