California Leafy Greens Marketing Agreement Releases Annual Report
SACRAMENTO, CA - The California Leafy Greens Marketing Agreement (LGMA) has released detailed information on audits of leafy greens handlers and an analysis of all citations issued, per its 2015/16 Annual Report.
"Now that the LGMA has been in existence for nearly 10 years, it’s important for us to do all we can to make sure members don’t become complacent," Scott Horsfall, President and CEO of the LGMA, said, according to a release. "This year, we asked our Compliance Officer, Jonathan Field, to take a harder look at some of the infractions that could be avoided with better training. As a result, we saw more citations in infractions categorized as Minor Deviations."
Some key findings listed in the report are:
- A total of 470 audits conducted–slightly up from last year’s 467 audits
- The total number of citations issued has steadily declined over the years. This year there was a slight increase with 385 citations compared to last year’s 370 citations
- On average, LGMA members received less than 1 citation per audit
- On average, LGMA members are in compliance with 99.5 percent of the total checkpoints audited during the year. However, all citations are required to be corrected
The LGMA places infractions in four different categories, with the LGMA’s intent to be that handlers are able to go back and train people not to make the same mistakes again, rather than allowing minor corrections to continue being made in the field during an audit.
"We know that training can make a big difference in how leafy greens workers comply with required food safety practices as it helps ingrain the proper procedures into their everyday work habits. We believe this will help us to continue to drive improvement in the industry," concluded Horsfall. "Through training we’re working to correct problems permanently."
The four categories include:
- Flagrant Violations (the most serious category)
- Major Deviations
- Minor Deviations, which must be corrected within 5 days
- Minor Infractions, which can be corrected in the field
The LGMA noted that its audits are mandatory and are conducted by government auditors who verify that science-based food safety practices are implemented on the farm. A copy of the Annual Report is available here, and you can watch a short video interview with LGMA Compliance Officer Jonathan Field here.