California leafy greens growers are pledging to incorporate findings from a report issued today by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) into its ongoing process to strengthen required food safety practices on farms.
Leafy greens farmers work hard every day to follow the best-known food safety practices. Clearly, we need to look even beyond our own farms to help us prevent future outbreaks. Information from this new FDA report will be extremely valuable as we further strengthen our practices both in and around our farms.
The FDA report issued today relates to what was actually three distinct outbreaks all occurring inf the Fall of 2019. In the report, identifies adjacent or nearby land used for cattle grazing as the most likely contributing factor associated with these three outbreaks.
The leafy greens industry hopes to learn more about how leafy greens are being exposed to pathogens like e. coli in the environment and on land surrounding farms through a series of research projects. A project to gather samples and collect data is now underway in Arizona in cooperation with producers, the University of Arizona and the FDA.
A similar study is being developed to perform research in California’s central coast growing areas with an eye toward considering preventative controls that may be necessary on land surrounding our farms as well as additional controls on the leafy greens farms themselves. The study would be done in cooperation with FDA, the California Department of Food and Agriculture, academia and the leafy greens industry. We’re hopeful this kind of work can be done to provide us with answers to help prevent future outbreaks.”