(a) The Legislature finds and determines and so declares that, for many years past, the shipment of raw, immature citrus fruit, generally designated as “green fruit,” from the state to consuming markets has caused the loss of millions of dollars to the citrus growers of Florida; also has resulted in the lowering of the standard of living of many of its citizens; adversely affected the economic conditions of the entire state; reduced the receipts in the collection of ad valorem taxes, thereby reducing revenue needed by counties and cities; caused financial loss to the growers and shippers and processors who did not engage in the shipment of green fruit; and that such practice each year hurts the good name and reputation of all Florida citrus.
Terms Used In Florida Statutes 601.9910
- Citrus fruit: means all varieties and regulated hybrids of citrus fruit and also means processed citrus products containing 20 percent or more citrus fruit or citrus fruit juice. See Florida Statutes 601.03
- Citrus hybrids: includes , but is not limited to, hybrids between or among sour orange (C. See Florida Statutes 601.03
- Department: means the Department of Citrus. See Florida Statutes 601.03
- Grapefruit: means the fruit Citrus paradisi Macf. See Florida Statutes 601.03
- Oranges: means the fruit Citrus sinensis Osbeck, commonly called sweet oranges. See Florida Statutes 601.03
(b) The Legislature, after extensive hearings conducted annually, and after many hearings attended by its citrus committees at various citrus industry meetings throughout the citrus area; and after having had the advice and counsel of the best qualified and most expert technical advisers in the Florida citrus industry, and after having had the benefit of the advice of some of the most expert and best informed growers, shippers, and processors, and after having made a careful study of the reaction of all citrus fruits by reason of changes in climatic conditions, and having found that regardless of the color of an orange or the color of a grapefruit or regardless of the juice content of such fruit, finds such fruit may be immature and unfit for human consumption. It is also recognized by experts that there are certain factors entering into the maturity of fruit which are not now measurable by chemical tests. There is a change brought about by time and nature in the blending of solids and acids into juice which characterizes maturity but not in a manner susceptible to chemical determination. Because of this, it is scientifically sound that the minimum requirements for solids and the ratio of solids to anhydrous citric acid in determining maturity be relaxed as the season progresses and the raw, immature flavor characteristic of fruit early in the season has disappeared through the workings of time and nature. Therefore, the Legislature hereby finds and determines and so declares that, until nature has completed its process of removing the raw, immature flavor, such citrus fruit will still be immature and unfit for human consumption and, when marketed, will result in dissatisfied consumers who will cease purchasing Florida citrus for some time and will classify that fruit which they had purchased as “Florida green fruit.”
(c) The Legislature finds and determines and so declares that there is no better method of determining when such raw and immature flavor leaves Florida citrus than by the standards authorized by this chapter and set forth in department rule; that experience has demonstrated over a period of many years, by the best available records and under various climatic conditions and various seasonal changes, that generally speaking, before November 1 of each season, oranges that do not have a total soluble solids of 9 percent with a minimum ratio of total soluble solids, as set forth in department rule, still have a raw, immature flavor; that beginning on or about November 1 of each season, such raw, immature fruit flavor gradually disappears from the orange, and by November 15 the same orange may have a still lower soluble solids percentage and not be immature; that after November 15 the same orange can still have a further lower soluble solids percentage without being immature; and that by December 1 nature has completed its process of removing the raw, immature flavor that might have existed before that time, provided such fruit meets the other minimum maturity requirements authorized by this chapter and set forth in department rule. On December 1 oranges meeting the requirements set forth in department rule, while not being sufficiently mature to ship in fresh form, may be safely used in some processed products without the finished product having a raw, immature flavor. On December 1 grapefruit meeting the requirements set forth in department rule, while not being sufficiently mature to ship in fresh form, may be safely used in some processed products without the finished product having a raw, immature flavor.
(d) The Legislature finds and determines and so declares that the enforcement of the maturity standards, authorized by this chapter and set forth in department rule, will not result in preventing any grower from marketing her or his fruit at some time during the marketing season, whenever nature has removed the raw, immature flavor, and if there is a delay in such marketing, it will result in higher prices for the entire season, bringing additional millions of dollars to the state’s growers and resulting in benefit to all growers, including the grower or growers who were delayed a short time in the shipment of their fruit.
(2) DECLARATION.–Therefore, the Legislature declares that the strict enforcement of the maturity standards authorized by this chapter and set forth in department rule is definitely in the public’s interest and for the public’s welfare and that no citrus that has a raw, immature flavor and that could be classed by the consuming public as “Florida green fruit” should be shipped from the state and sold in consuming markets.
(3) RULES SETTING FORTH MATURITY STANDARDS FOR HYBRIDS.–The Legislature finds and determines that the classifications of and maturity standards for citrus hybrids should be established by rules adopted by the department pursuant to this chapter.