FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
September 25, 2006
CRYSTAL CITY -- For more than 80 years Zavala County and Crystal City have produced vibrant, flourishing spinach crops that have benefited greatly the state and area agricultural economies. According to the United States Department of Agriculture's National Agricultural Statistics Service, the value of Texas' spinach production, including a large portion of the harvest from Zavala County, surpasses $2.3 million.
After the recent announcement by USDA urging American consumers not to eat fresh spinach due to E. coli contamination, I contacted Zavala County Judge Joe Luna, Crystal City Mayor Norma Hernández and Zavala County Farm Bureau president Mario Escobar, offering my assistance.
Although Department of State Health Services officials have yet to report cases of E. coli infection associated with the consumption of bagged spinach in Texas, I will continue to work closely with the agency to ensure that Texas spinach crops are protected and observed carefully. I also will work with the Food and Drug Administration, representatives from the produce industry and the Texas Department of Agriculture to ensure that a healthy spinach crop from Texas is sent timely to market.