Arizona and California Leafy Greens Marketing Agreements Exceed U.S. Food and Drug Administration's Proposed Water Rule
ARIZONA & CALIFORNIA - Setting its focus on food safety in the leafy greens sector, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) announced the release of a proposed revision to Subpart E (Agricultural Water) of the Produce Safety Rule (PSR) on December 2 to enhance water requirements within the industry. After conducting an initial review of FDA’s proposal, the Leafy Greens Marketing Agreement (LGMA) Food Safety Programs in Arizona and California have determined that the LGMA requirements meet and exceed what is in the proposed new rule.
FDA published the Produce Safety Rule as a part of the Food Safety Modernization Act in 2015. Both LGMA programs worked with FDA subject matter experts to align with the Produce Safety Rule, as it is a priority for both organizations to meet FDA requirements. In 2017, both organizations were formally recognized by FDA for aligning their food safety standards with FDA’s Produce Safety Rule.
According to a press release, the LGMA programs have always required growers to assess and test their water because it can be a potential carrier of pathogens. In 2019, the association’s requirements were reevaluated to include additional safeguards to ensure growers categorize the source of the water, consider how and when it is applied to the crop, conduct water testing to assure the water is safe for use, treat water if necessary, and verify that all of these precautions have been taken.
Adopting this systems approach, FDA is proposing a similar methodology in the new water requirements, which both the Arizona and California LGMAs have applauded.
The proposed revision will have a 120-day comment period, during which LGMA organizations will be submitting comments to FDA. The comment period will be followed by the rulemaking process. When the final rule is approved, the LGMA programs will then review and make changes if needed to ensure their guidelines remain aligned with FDA requirements.
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