The US Food and Drug Administration has updated its lettuce sampling protocols for the Salinas Valley. The FDA has been collecting and testing lettuce grown in the area and will continue until the end of harvest in November.
The updates to the FY21 Lettuce Sampling assignment include adjustments to the testing approach as well as notification protocols. California Leafy Greens Marketing Agreement (LGMA) CEO Tim York said the changes are welcome news for the industry. One particularly important change is the prenotification of testing that is now being provided by FDA.
Agnetwest.com quoted York as saying: “What you don’t want to do is have product that is already on trucks or even distributed within retail or food service and then find out that a test is being conducted because we have a ‘test-and-hold’ procedure. You don’t want to move product into commerce if you haven’t gotten the final test results, otherwise you’re potentially instituting a recall and trying to pull all that product back. That’s obviously disruptive to the industry, it’s expensive, and of course, it’s disruptive to our customers.”