Fresno County has introduced a new ordinance aimed at preventing the recurrence of clandestine biolabs like the one discovered in Reedley last year. The Fresno County Infectious Materials Ordinance, which is set to be officially approved in January, empowers the county to conduct on-site inspections of private labs to ensure compliance with hazardous materials laws and other safety requirements.
Exemptions and Applicability
The ordinance does not apply to labs, hospitals, and doctors’ offices already regulated by the federal government through the Clinical Laboratory Improvement Amendments (CLIA). According to Fresno County Director of Public Health David Luchini, there are currently no known private labs that would fall under the jurisdiction of this ordinance.
If an eligible lab is discovered, the Public Health Department would deploy a team from its Hazardous Materials Program and Public Health Laboratory to conduct annual compliance checks. The Board of Supervisors unanimously backed the ordinance, with a second hearing scheduled for January 9.
The board also instructed county staff to draft a Memorandum of Understanding to facilitate agreements with cities, granting the county the authority to inspect labs on private property within city limits.
Supervisor Steve Brandau emphasized the need for federal intervention to prevent such labs from operating nationwide. Meanwhile, Fresno City Councilmember Garry Bredefeld criticized the county for its delayed response to the Reedley lab incident.
Read more at SJV Sun.