January 15, 2019

Romaine lettuce inspections continue despite government shutdown

The California Leafy Greens Marketing Agreement (LGMA) wants people to know that inspections of Romaine lettuce, and other leafy greens grown in Arizona and California, have not ceased due to the ongoing federal government shutdown.

LGMA communications director April Ward issued the following statement on the organization’s website.

“The ongoing federal government shutdown has no effect on the on-farm food safety audits conducted through the California and Arizona LGMA programs. The LGMA programs utilize state agricultural auditors and the audits are funded by industry. In the winter, Arizona and California produce almost all of the leafy greens grown in the U.S., so farm food safety audits continue and are not affected by the shutdown.”

The LGMA is a food safety program that verifies science-based farming practices using government audits and requires 100 percent compliance.

Many Food & Drug Administration (FDA) inspections have been suspended due to the shutdown, however. NBC reported recently that the FDA wants to resume at least some “essential” inspections and will call back furloughed workers to do so without pay.

E. coli outbreak officially ended

The Center for Disease Control (CDC) declared Jan. 9 that the most-recent E. coli outbreak, which stemmed from a Santa Barbara County, California, farm, has ended.

That E. coli outbreak — the second major one of 2018 — resulted in 62 people being infected. Tainted romaine lettuce was traced to Adams Bros. Farming. The farm also recalled red leaf lettuce, green leaf lettuce and cauliflower harvested between Nov. 27-30, 2018.


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