California Leafy Greens Marketing Agreement Endorses Pre-Harvest Testing to Reduce Outbreaks
SALINAS, CA - Continuing to put the safety and health of our industry at the forefront of its mission, the California Leafy Greens Marketing Agreement (LGMA) Board has endorsed a new Pre-Harvest Testing guidance. This new process will help prevent foodborne illness outbreaks that have been associated with leafy greens in the past.
“We are endorsing pre-harvest testing in direct response to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration’s recent report on outbreaks associated with lettuce in 2020, which identified the recurring E. coli strain implicated to be a reasonably foreseeable hazard,” said Dan Sutton, Chairman. “We want to send a clear message to FDA that our industry is, in fact, taking additional measures to prevent outbreaks.”
The guidance requires pre-harvest testing on leafy greens products when risk assessment finds it necessary, specifically when products are grown near animals.
Furthermore, the LGMA Board has also endorsed several other updates to the food safety standards now being developed by the LGMA Technical Committee. According to a press release, these requirements will appear within coming months. Other projects in the works from the Technical Committee include:
- Adjacent land risk assessment tool
- Root cause analysis requirement for high-risk food safety incidents
- Major revision to existing standards for soil amendments and crop inputs
“These important tools and revisions have been in development for several months, and they represent input from food safety experts and researchers throughout the industry,” continued Sutton. “None of this could have happened without the tremendous work done by the LGMA’s Technical Committee to rapidly develop guidance for pre-harvesting testing and all efforts currently underway. Nor could this be accomplished without the commitment of LGMA members and farmers to produce safe food by implementing the LGMA food safety standards.”
Additionally, the association is turning to produce buyers to help reinforce the safety standards and work being done by the LGMA and its teams by requiring LGMA certification from their suppliers.
“The LGMA provides a unique system to enforce food safety practices on farms in California and Arizona that produce over 90 percent of the leafy greens consumed in the U.S.,” said CEO Tim York. “When produce buyers require LGMA certification of their suppliers, they reinforce best practices on leafy greens farms. Simply put, when buyers support the LGMA, they support a system that offers the fastest and best means to reduce incidents of foodborne illness.”
For more updates from associations throughout the fresh produce industry, keep reading AndNowUKnow.