The industry sponsored BSL3 facility being built in Riverside jumped a major hurdle this past Tuesday. A containment facility of this sort must past a certification inspection conducted by USDA. The only other facility that can research critical bacteria or virus needs for agriculture is located on the Davis campus and is significantly over subscribed regarding space access. Industry leaders came together in 2016 and agreed the California citrus industry needed its own facility to conduct HLB research heretofore done primarily in Florida all of which required duplication in California to ascertain viability on our trees, in our climate, and on our soil.
After the tour, USDA personnel verbally expressed satisfaction noting that a handful of small items required attention. They also suggested that facility management notify researchers selected for access to the facility begin submitting their projects to USDA for concurrence on adhering to rules associated with the use of the facility. “They would not have authorized this next step had they not been confident that our team could address the challenges identified during inspection for correction,” notes CCM’s Joel Nelsen while serving as Interim Executive Director for the Citrus Research Foundation coordinating the entire effort.