Congressman Rubén Hinojosa (D-TX-15) announced that the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS) has released a final rule that will allow new irradiation treatment facilities in Texas and other Southern States. This rule will allow the construction of a $22 million dollar irradiation facility in the McAllen Free Trade Zone that will add over 100 direct jobs and hundreds of indirect jobs.
"Texas is on the front lines of defense protecting American consumers from pests and other contaminations from Mexico, Latin America and beyond that endanger the health of all Americans." said U.S. Rep. Hinojosa "Over sixty percent of the produce now shipped in Texas comes from Mexico. With the emergence of citrus greening and Mexican fruit flies along the border with Texas, the need for more irradiation facilities is even more urgent. That is why I have been working with the USDA on quick adoption of this rule. I am also gratified that APHIS recognizes the danger of exotic fruit flies and has included additional safeguards for irradiation facilities in states like Texas to maximize the safety for all Americans."
McAllen Economic Development Corporation headed by President Keith Patridge says they are ready for the next steps. "This new rule clears the way for this project to move forward. It will not only provide much needed jobs for South Texas but also improve the safety of the imported food supply the additional economic benefit of increased shelf life for the retailer and the consumer. A true win-win in these difficult economic times," he said.