Leafy greens safety remains the top priority for the industry as the Fall transition approaches. The California Leafy Greens Marketing Agreement (LGMA) has issued a guidance document detailing the efforts to ensure food safety. A list of ten action items feature efforts being undertaken to maintain the safety of leafy greens now and into the future.
The list reiterates the fact that LGMA requires absolute compliance with the more than 300 food safety mechanisms that are involved with on-farm audits. Several additional safety practices related to field and equipment sanitation standards were also recently approved. The updates to the required practices will also soon become part of the auditing process. LGMA also verifies through the auditing process that member companies have a traceability system in place. More rigorous water standards that were approved in 2019 are also being implemented by industry members and enforced by inspecting bodies.
Farmers in California and Arizona are also continually being inspected by various agencies to ensure that operations are adhering to the Produce Safety Rule. The list also explains that the California Department of Food and Agriculture (CDFA) and other agencies are in the process of monitoring compost that is used to grow leafy greens through a surveillance project. Work is also continuing to be conducted to further improve leafy greens safety into the future. Multiple projects from agencies, educational institutions, and industry groups are being conducted to help craft more efficient and effective food safety practices.
Some of the items listed by LGMA include information to help inspire confidence from consumers that all measures are being taken to protect leafy greens from potential contamination. The list highlights the fact that food safety audits continue despite the challenges presented by the pandemic. The CDFA has also brought in additional personnel to handle audits during the transitional season.