January 1995

Legislative Analyst's Office

State Has Been Battling The Medfly Since 1980

The Department of Food and Agriculture (DFA) and the U.S. Department of Agriculture are engaged in a multi-year program to eradicate the Mediterranean Fruit Fly (Medfly) in California. The Medfly was first detected in California in 1975, and DFA records document eradication efforts as far back as 1980. The most recent infestations were detected in June 1993 in four Southern California counties and in October 1994 in Ventura county.

June 1993 Infestation. This infestation resulted in the department designating a quarantine area of 1,500 square miles that covers portions of Los Angeles, San Bernardino, Riverside, and Orange counties. The department's eradication effort included aerial spraying of malathion over a 18-square mile area covering the city of Corona in Riverside County. That spraying was completed in May 1994. The quarantine is expected to stay in place until at least Spring 1997, depending on whether future finds of Medflies occur.

October 1994 Infestation. This infestation resulted in the department designating an 86-square mile quarantine area in Ventura County. The department is spraying malathion over a 16-square mile area in Ventura County. The Ventura quarantine is expected to remain in place through Summer 1995, or longer if future finds of Medflies occur.

The intensity of eradication efforts has fluctuated over the years, depending on the degree and stage of infestation. As shown in the figure, state funds spent on eradication since 1987 total about $81 million, of which $77 million has come from the General Fund. The Legislature appropriated $17 million from the General Fund to the department in 1994-95 for its Medfly eradication efforts. The department shares eradication funding with the U.S. Department of Agriculture on a dollar-for-dollar matching basis.

The State Has Numerous Consumer Regulatory Boards

California regulates many individuals and businesses which provide services and products to consumers in the state. The state has created single-purpose boards to deal with a particular profession (for example, doctors and landscape architects) or business (for example, electronic appliance repair and auto repair). Typically, these boards license individuals and investigate complaints from consumers.

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