"It was also nice to see that California, a citrus-producing state that buys 25 percent of our fruit, immediately switched back to buying Texas citrus when the restrictions were eased, which says a lot about the quality and reputation of our fruit," he said.

Other citrus-producing regions that have been confirmed by tests at the USDA lab in Beltsville, Maryland to have sweet orange scab include Mexico, Louisiana and Mississippi, Prewett said.

For now, organic fruit, which does not undergo packing-house procedures, still cannot be shipped if it is destined for fresh market sales to consumers in citrus-producing states. But it's expected that organic citrus destined for processing or juicing in citrus-producing states will be allowed to ship soon since regulations will require the peel to be destroyed, Prewett said.

"There's still a lot of work to be done," he said. "We’ll be working on getting organic fruit for fresh markets in citrus-producing states approved, as well as trying to unravel why SOS symptoms vary from area to area; they are not all uniform. But the good news is that the trend in fruit pathogens, whether bacterial or fungal, seems to be that they are not a transfer pathway. Fortunately, in many cases, and unlike plant material, fruit is not a vector for pathogens."

Skaria is also pleased by the trend and happy that Rio Grande Valley citrus is once again making its way to profitable markets throughout the country and the world.

"The last I heard is that since the easing of restrictions, shippers are scrambling to find enough trucks to ship our citrus to market. That's a good problem to have," he said.

r-santaana@tamu.edu