Vegetables

Safe veggies: LGMA syncs with Produce Safety Rule

The California, Arizona Leafy Greens Marketing Agreements have updated required food safety practices to align with new federal food safety laws

The Leafy Greens Marketing Agreement (LMGA) production metrics for food safety for vegetables grown in California and Arizona will be fully compatible with the Food Safety Modernization Act’s Produce Safety Rule (PSR).

“The California and Arizona Leafy Greens Marketing Agreements have updated their required food safety practices so they are in alignment with new federal food safety laws,” says Scott Horsfall, California LGMA chair.

The California and Arizona LGMA boards voted to accept the updated food safety metrics required by the FSMA.

Horsfall says 90 percent of leafy greens grown in the U.S. and certified through the LGMA’s system of mandatory government audits will be in full compliance with new FSMA laws.

“This is an important distinction LGMA members can make, not just because it will soon be the law of the land, but also because retail and foodservice buyers have made it clear they want all suppliers to verify their compliance with the FSMA’s new food safety laws,” Horsfall says.

Full compliance

Markon is a company which provides fresh produce to the foodservice industry. On the compliance issue, Markon President Tim York says, “Knowing that LGMA certification also means our leafy green supplies are in full compliance with FSMA makes the LGMA certification status even more valuable.

York adds, “We applaud the LGMA for taking this action.”

The process for metric updates involved a comprehensive review of the food safety practices required of produce farms under the FSMA’s Produce Safety Rule, Horsfall says. 

Where necessary, LGMA’s required changed practices to comply with FSMA laws. The effort which took several months to complete was facilitated by Western Growers. The two-state LGMA programs will now work with the USDA and the state Departments of Agriculture in the respective states to include the changes in audit checklists. 

LGMA inspections under the new standards will likely start in early 2018 when compliance under FSMA becomes mandatory. LGMA plans to inform the leafy greens community about the changes in the near future.

Closely aligned

Horsfall says the LGMA metrics were already closely aligned with the PSR and in many cases exceeded requirements in the FSMA.

Western Growers’ Hank Giclas says no changes were needed in many sections of the LGMAs’ existing required food safety practices. LGMA metrics already meet or exceed the new federal laws regarding environmental assessments, climatic conditions, animal encroachment, and soil fertility.

Key changes

Key changes to the LGMA metrics to meet PSR compliance include:

1 - Additional training and documentation requirements. The updates are more prescriptive than previously required by the LGMA programs. In each case, the LGMAs adopted language which closely mirrors what’s in the Produce Safety Rule;

2 - New requirements on soil amendments to make sure that certain products are treated in a way that kills listeria monocytogenes; and

3 - Requirements were added for on-farm storage buildings and transporting leafy greens from the field to coolers.

 

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