The county is asking residents of Bridgeport and Douglas County or anyone who may have information for help locating the apples.
DOUGLAS COUNTY, Wash .– Washington Gov. Jay Inslee donated apples to the town of Malden and a nursing home in Omak that were unwittingly infested with apple maggot larvae, according to a post Facebook officials from Douglas County.
Inslee visited areas following devastating forest fires in both areas. The governor issued a statement regarding the incident on Wednesday.
“Last week Trudi and I wanted to express our comfort to communities suffering from devastating fires,” Inslee said in the statement. “When I visited some of these regions, I took apples that we picked from our tree in Olympia. We regret this mistake. It is a good reminder of the importance of raising awareness around the quarantine of We appreciate the efforts of the Washington State Department of Agriculture to help recover these apples and we are helping to make it happen.
The post states that the Honeycrisp apples were grown at the Governor’s Mansion in Olympia. County officials wrote that Thurston County is an apple maggot quarantine area.
The county is asking residents of Bridgeport and Douglas County or anyone who may have information for assistance in locating apples that have been brought into the area.
According to the post, the apples were left at Foursquare Church after 11 a.m., but have not been seen since. The county was unable to find a contact with knowledge of their location.
“There is reason to believe they may have been thrown into a local orchard or transported with other uncontaminated apples from the area,” the post read.
According to the Washington State Department of Agriculture, the goal of apple maggot quarantine is to stop the spread of apple maggot in pest-free areas of the state. State law prohibits the movement of locally grown fruit and municipal waste from a quarantine area to or through a pest-free area.
Under Washington state law, violation of apple quarantine is punishable by a “civil penalty not exceeding $ 5,000 per violation.” The WSDA said there were no plans to prosecute the governor.
The post says the apple maggot is an incredibly serious pest and could have dire consequences for orchards in Douglas County if they are not able to find infected apples and mitigate the effect immediately.
If you have any information on the location of contaminated apples, please contact Will Carpenter, Director of the Chelan-Douglas Horticultural Pest and Disease Council by phone at 509-667-6677 or by email at [email protected] .chelan .wa.us.