Leafy greens organization making changes to water guidelines
The California Leafy Green Products Handler Marketing Agreement (LGMA) is making changes to its water guidelines, although the specifics have yet to be announced.
“Responding to issues of the past year, the leafy greens industry is continuing to address required water standards, particularly those related to use of surface waters. The LGMA is committed to strengthening its required food safety practices for all certified LGMA members who produce 99 percent of the leafy greens produced in California.
“For the past three months, the leafy greens industries in California and Arizona have been developing new water guidelines. An industry group facilitated by Western Growers has taken the leading this effort, and there is broad agreement that using untreated surface waters for overhead irrigation during the final weeks of production presents an elevated risk. Changes to the LGMA’s required food safety practices (metrics) to reduce this risk are being developed with input from food safety scientists and several LGMA member companies.
“The LGMA will make an announcement with specifics about the new metrics as soon as they are finalized and accepted by the LGMA Advisory Board. We are confident this can happen in the next four to six weeks.
“Once accepted, the new metrics will be shared with the industry and they will become part of the mandatory government audits that are part of the LGMA food safety system. The LGMA will also begin an education and outreach effort to ensure all members of the leafy greens community understand how to comply with the new standards.”
The Packer reported that changes will involve sanitation of open-source water used on fresh produce, including groundwater, water transported by canals or held in irrigation reservoirs.