Tulare County agriculture officials are asking for time to assess freeze damage. Sabrina Hill has the story.
Tulare County Agriculture Commissioner Marilyn Kinoshita has issued a letter to citrus handlers requesting a delay of 48 hours to give inspectors time to make assessments of the freeze damage. Kinoshita says the concern is to protect the industry and the integrity of growers’ labels by keeping freeze-damaged fruit out of wholesale and retail markets. She points out the steps are considered necessary to maintain consumer confidence. It’s not yet known how much damage the freeze has caused. Field assessments and inspections are now underway to determine the extent of the damage. The freeze has already cost more than $32 million to the citrus industry, which was spent on protection methods like wind machines. The citrus industry is valued at $1.5 billion for the San Joaquin Valley.