In a year of unparalleled tragedies stemming from the pandemic to California wildfires, lettuce farmers in California and Arizona are taking action to prevent foodborne illness outbreaks. As we approach the Fall transition when patterns have emerged in recent years, they’re all taking additional precautions to prevent potential problems. Farmers do everything possible to make sure our crops are farmed safely and we’re working together with government, food safety experts and the produce industry to keep people safe.
To help communicate all that is being done throughout the industry, the California Leafy Greens Marketing Agreement has issued an action list of ten things being done to keep leafy greens safe. These activities are designed to improve leafy greens safety now and into the future.
They want to remind everyone that the LGMA is the most stringent food safety program in the produce industry. In many areas, this program goes well beyond what’s required of other produce crops under federal laws.
For example, the LGMA is only program that requires its farmers to perform mandatory water testing and have traceback systems in place to track product back to the farm and forward to the first customer who receives it. On top of that, the existing standards have been strengthened even further in the aftermath of recent outbreaks.
The list of the ten things being done to make leafy greens safer:
- LGMA food safety audits are ongoing during COVID-19.
- The California LGMA is 'heavying up' audits during the season transition.
- LGMA requires 100% compliance.
- 2019 irrigation water standards are being implemented and enforced.
- New food safety updates approved by LGMA Board in August 2020.
- State agencies are monitoring compost used on leafy greens farms.
- Government inspectors are working to ensure farms are in compliance with the Produce Safety Rule.
- New research projects are underway to learn more about potential risks involved in farming leafy greens.
- The LGMA verifies with every audit that a traceability system is in place at all member companies.
- The LGMA supports a Leafy Greens Traceability Pilot to improve traceback through the supply chain.