Last year the California Leafy Greens Marketing Agreement (LGMA) approved enhancements to food safety measures. The improvements had a primary focus on water standards. The latest audit data shows that growers are complying with the latest LGMA water requirements at a high rate. LGMA has had comprehensive water testing requirements since the program was first created nearly 15 years ago.
“Data shows that since April, government auditors conducted 69 audits of LGMA members to verify compliance with the 92 food safety checkpoints for water included in each audit,” LGMA CEO Scott Horsfall said in a blog post. “Of the 6,348 total water checkpoints reviewed by auditors, LGMA members were collectively found to be out of compliance with 64 checkpoints. This compliance rate of 99 percent indicates LGMA members are doing a very good job of implementing these new metrics in their operations.”
The audit data for the LGMA water requirements were collected between April and July. All issues of non-compliance are required to be corrected. Nearly 40 percent of the citations issued for non-compliance were rectified during the audit process. The remaining compliance issued required the submission of Corrective Action Plans. The California Department of Food and Agriculture reverified the corrections and all LGMA members are now in compliance.
ARIZONA LEAFY GREENS GROWERS FOLLOW SUIT
The Arizona LGMA Food Safety Committee is following the example of California industry members. The committee approved enhancements to water and field metrics guidelines. Updates to the protocols were made ahead of the upcoming growing season. The Arizona LGMA Technical Subcommittee collaborated with the California LGMA and the Western Growers Association in developing and integrating the updates. The new improvements mark the 13th version of the best practices for water and field sanitation standards. Some of the changes include enhanced water sampling and more stringent practices for sanitization of equipment.