Lukin Gilliland (photo)
Congressional District 23 candidate
Lost revenue in wake of Washington's misguided ban
( San Antonio) - Democratic challenger Lukin Gilliland today called on Congress to reimburse local spinach producers for lost revenue in the wake of an overly broad ban that hurt the multi-million-dollar-a-year Texas industry.
"Our spinach producers did nothing wrong," Gilliland said. "Congress should do the right thing and repay them for the revenue they lost when Washington bureaucrats over reacted."
Gilliland said federal Food and Drug Administration officials caused significant financial harm to producers in Congressional District 23 when they imposed a nationwide ban on spinach.
The ban came after an outbreak of E. Coli on nine California farms spread over three counties. Late last week, the federal agency lifted the ban and conceded that Texas spinach was safe.
Industry estimates range as high as $100 million in potential losses nationwide, including the destruction of spinach already on the market. Texas spinach was never tainted, and there have been no reported cases involving Texas spinach.
Gilliland has said the FDA needs to reform the process for assessing food safety to avoid unfairly hurting farmers and other producers in the future.
"The ban on fresh spinach was too broad and led to unnecessary economic losses for Texas producers thousands of miles from the point of the outbreak," Gilliland said. "Congress should make right what the FDA made wrong."
A successful rancher and businessman, Gilliland is a fifth generation Texan who earned a bachelor's degree from the University of Texas at Austin , where he also played on the 1970 national championship football team.