Leafy greens food safety website launched by Western Growers
Answering the nation’s call for enhanced food safety measures, Western Growers has developed a website to facilitate changes to the Leafy Greens Marketing Agreement-approved Leafy Green Food Safety Guidelines.
The interactive website now easily allows the public to participate in routine discussions and process amendments that will ensure continuous improvement of the leafy green food safety preventive practices.
“As an industry leader in produce safety, Western Growers (WG) remains committed to driving the evolution of guidance for preventive food safety programs in leafy greens as well as other commodities,” Sonia Salas, WG’s assistant vice president of food safety, science and technology, said in a news release. “In a time where COVID-19 is top of mind for all industries, Western Growers is committed to ensuring that the important work of improving food safety continues with broad agricultural industry engagement and complete transparency among leafy green growers. This website will ensure access to that process.”
In 2007 following the E. coli O157:H7 spinach outbreak, WG, working with the leafy green industry, facilitated the development of written best practices for the safe production and harvest of leafy greens, currently known as the Commodity Specific Food Safety Guidelines for the Production and Harvest of Lettuce and Leafy Greens (Leafy Green Guidelines). These guidelines were subsequently adopted by both the California and Arizona Leafy Greens Marketing Agreements (LGMA) as the best practices for leafy green growers selling to handlers in their states. Since its first publication, the Leafy Green Guidelines have been updated many times as new research has become available and practices have evolved. This website provides an avenue to systemically amend these best practices and allows users to easily submit comments. A new comment period opens in April 2020.
In addition to simplifying the Leafy Green Food Safety Guidelines amendment process, the website also offers the following:
- Master Calendar: calendar that outlines the comment period and deadlines for issues related to agricultural water, field sanitation, soil amendments and concentrated animal feeding operations; entire amendment process at a glance
- LGMA Final Document: commodity-specific food safety guidelines for the production and harvest of lettuce and leafy greens
- Leafy Green Info Sheet: document explaining how the Leafy Green Food Safety Guidelines amendment process works and the importance of continual incorporation of new science and information
Founded in 1926, Western Growers represents local and regional family farmers growing fresh produce in Arizona, California, Colorado and New Mexico.