California and Arizona LGMA Updates Metrics to Align with FSMA
SACRAMENTO, CA - Both the California and Arizona Leafy Greens Marketing Agreements (LGMA) have updated their required food safety practices, aligning both with with new federal food safety laws.
“We can now say with confidence that LGMA certification is equal to FSMA compliance,” wrote CEO Scott Horsfall in the announcement. “This is an important distinction LGMA members can make—not just because it will soon be the law of the land, but also because retail and foodservice buyers have made it clear they will be asking all suppliers to verify their compliance with new food safety laws under FSMA.”
The LGMA metrics were already closely aligned with the Produce Safety Rule. The association stated that in many cases it even exceeded requirements that are now part of FSMA.
According to Western Growers Hank Giclas, no changes were needed in many sections of the LGMAs’ existing required food safety practices—its metrics already meet or exceed the new federal laws with respect to requirements concerning:
- Environmental assessments
- Climatic conditions
- Animal encroachment
- Soil fertility
Tim York, President of Markon and a long-time supporter of the LGMA program, said, “When the LGMA was launched in 2007, we were vocal and early supporters of the program because the LGMA metrics had the specificity and accountability needed for a robust food safety program. Knowing that LGMA certification also means our leafy green suppliers are in full compliance with FSMA makes the LGMA certification status even more valuable. We applaud the LGMA for taking this action.”
While no changes were made to practices concerning water use, since the FDA is still considering what will be required under FSMA in this area, some of the key adjustments made to the LGMA metrics included:
- New sections were added to cover additional training and documentation requirements. The updates are more prescriptive than what was previously required by the LGMA programs. In each case, the LGMAs have adopted language that closely mirrors what is in the Produce Safety Rule.
- New requirements were added to the section on soil amendments to make sure that certain products are shown to be treated in a way that kills listeria monocytogenes.
- Requirements were added for on-farm storage buildings and transporting leafy greens from the field to coolers.
Giclas also emphasized the LGMA metrics have always included science-based practices to ensure water used in the farming of leafy greens is safe and adequately tested.
With the vote to accept the updated food safety metrics from both California and Arizona LGMA Boards, 90 percent of the leafy greens produced in the U.S. are certified through the LGMA’s system of mandatory government audits will be in full compliance with new laws under FSMA.
The effort—which took several months to complete—was facilitated by Western Growers and vetted through an open and transparent process before being presented to the LGMA Technical Committees in Arizona and California and, ultimately, to the full LGMA Board in both states. The LGMA expects members will begin being inspected to these new standards in early 2018 when compliance with new laws under FSMA becomes mandatory.