Arizona leafy greens org now using updates food safety practices
The Arizona Leafy Greens Marketing Agreement Food Safety Committee approved on Aug. 10 changes to the adjacent land use and soil amendments sections of the food safety best practices (also known as metrics) that all members must adhere to.
The changes will go into effect immediately and Arizona Department of Food and Agriculture auditors will begin verifying compliance in November, when harvest starts for the 2021-22 season. The Arizona Leafy Greens Marketing Agreement (LGMA) also announced support for leafy green shippers, growers and harvest crews through training events and online resources.
“The changes to the food safety guidelines for our upcoming growing season represent the Arizona growing community’s commitment to keeping consumers safe,” said C.R. Waters, Arizona LGMA chairman, through a press release. “Today, we approved changes that our members will be using in their operations to supply the nation with leafy green vegetables this winter.”
The changes to the food safety best practices include:
- A detailed assessment evaluating risk levels is required for adjacent lands
- Pre-harvest testing is required when risk assessments deem it necessary
- A new approach to soil amendments and crop inputs — includes new categories and incorporates a risk-based approach
The updated best practices and a copy of the document with tracked changes can be found here www.arizonaleafygreens.org/guidelines
“Change is never easy,” said Teressa Lopez, Arizona LGMA Program Administrator, “that is why we are supporting our members with a multitude of training and education sessions in the Yuma region in August and September. We are also providing our award-winning food safety kit digitally on our website so anyone can access it at any time. Training materials and event registration are available at www.arizonaleafygreens.org/food-safety-training.”
The Arizona LGMA, a consortium of shippers of Arizona leafy greens, continue to put in place strict food safety best practices to ensure the integrity of leafy greens grown, harvested and shipped from Arizona. The program aims to mitigate potential food safety issues through an intricate system of checks and balances and is administered by the Arizona Department of Agriculture.
A pre-season Arizona leafy greens field. Photo: Arizona LGMA