June 30) LAKELAND, Fla. — Florida grapefruit could be featured alongside Oprah Winfrey if citrus growers approve a box tax increase for increased marketing and promotional efforts.

If the Florida Citrus Commission approves higher per-box taxes, which fund the marketing and promotional work conducted by the Florida Department of Citrus, the state would spend $900,000 to secure licensing rights to market Florida grapefruit in a Winfrey-endorsed diet and exercise program.

The commission oversees the Florida Department of Citrus.

Taxes on fresh grapefruit would rise from 25 cents per box to 40 cents per box. Rates for fresh oranges and tangerines would remain at 20 cents a box.

The marketing effort would be part of a book called “Best Life Diet” being written by Winfrey’s personal trainer and diet and exercise guru Bob Greene.

The book, which is scheduled for publication in January, would feature other produce. However, grapefruit and grapefruit juice are the only produce products being offered licensing rights to cross-merchandise the diet program’s logo and other materials at retail point of purchase, said Leigh Killeen, the department’s domestic marketing manager.

Grapefruit would receive favorable mentions in the book along with eating plans and recipes, she said. Winfrey would also likely discuss the benefits of eating grapefruit on her popular television show, Killeen said.

The department would use a nutritionist in a satellite media tour along with audio and video news releases and other marketing tools, Killeen said. The book also would be listed on Winfrey’s Web site.