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 PMA and United Fresh Joint Comment on LGMA Revisions to Ag-Water Standards

PMA and United Fresh Joint Comment on LGMA Revisions to Ag-Water Standards

MONTEREY, CA, and WASHINGTON, DC - The United Fresh Produce Association and Produce Marketing Association (PMA) have recently commented on the collective efforts of the California-based leafy greens industry, who brought a months-long effort of improving auditable ag water standards to an LGMA Board vote and then adopting new, risk-based metrics.

Both organizations stated in a press release that they support the recent adoption by the California Leafy Greens Marketing Agreement (LGMA) to characterize, treat, and monitor all forms of surface water that will be used for overhead irrigation of leafy greens within 21 days of harvest.

Jennifer McEntire, VP Food Safety & Technology, United Fresh“This effort represents a fundamental shift to better reflect well-established scientific knowledge on how we should think about water quality and risk,” said Dr. Jennifer McEntire, United Fresh’s Vice President of Food Safety & Technology. “We are no longer working on the assumption that water is safe based on a periodic, by the calendar, water test result; instead the industry assumes that surface water may present a risk to leafy greens and is proactively treating it during the period closest to harvest.”

According to a recent press release, the Romaine Task Force, co-chaired by United Fresh and PMA, has participated in the development of the new water metrics and will now evaluate this risk-based approach from the perspective of the leafy greens supply chain.

Bob Whitaker, Ph.D., Chief Science & Technology Officer, PMA“This is a paradigm shift in ag water management,” said Dr. Bob Whitaker, PMA Chief Science Officer. “The key now is to undertake the education and training needed to implement the new metrics and most importantly, to begin learning about the effectiveness of the water metrics and continually improving them as the industry gathers data and distills the performance information.”

In addition to ag water, the Romaine Task Force also is focused on improving traceability through the supply chain, through retail and foodservice, developing a robust approach to root cause analysis, and improving the investigative process.

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