In early 2019, after the Thanksgiving 2018 romaine recall, numerous leading CEA producers of leafy greens came together with a thought – what if we treat food safety as a pre-competitive issue? We could work together to develop a strong and credible approach to food safety for CEA leafy greens, whilst supporting the sector in labeling initiatives, education, advocacy, and communicating the benefits of CEA production. We interviewed Marni Karlin, the Executive Director of the CEA Food Safety Coalition, to learn more about their key priorities in developing food safety initiatives in the CEA industry.
The Coalition was officially formed in the summer of 2019. One of the most tangible benefits of their work in educating regulators was that the CDC and FDA specifically excluded indoor produced leafy greens from the Thanksgiving 2019 romaine recall, enabling retailers to keep CEA leafy greens on the shelves, and consumers to keep them on their tables. Karlin exclaims, “We’re proud of the work we did to make that happen, and are excited about what else we can do to advance the CEA leafy greens sector!”
The Coalition is an independent and member-governed organization whose mission is to develop credible, strong, and appropriate food safety standards for controlled environment production of leafy greens; educate consumers and regulators on controlled environment growing; and communicate the value of controlled environment agriculture. Karlin explains the responsibilities of the coalition further, “We are also developing a desired research agenda and trying to make connections between industry, academia, and funders to promote research on questions specific to CEA production. "
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