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California and Arizona align with produce safety rule

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The California and Arizona Leafy Greens Marketing Agreements have updated required food safety practices to align with the Food Safety Modernization Act’s Produce Safety Rule.

The LGMA programs will incorporate changes into audit checklists with the USDA and Departments of Agriculture in California and Arizona.                                     

LGMA members will start being inspected to the new standards in early 2018 when compliance with laws under FSMA becomes mandatory.

Scott Horsfall, CEO of the California LGMA, said 90% of the leafy greens produced in the US and certified through the LGMA’s system of mandatory government audits will be in compliance with laws under FSMA.

“We can now say with confidence that LGMA certification is equal to FSMA compliance. 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 will be asking their suppliers to verify compliance with new food safety laws under FSMA.”

No changes were made to practices concerning water use since the FDA is still considering what will be required under FSMA. 

Teressa Lopez, program administrator for the Arizona LGMA, said updates to food safety metrics are the result of a review of practices required by produce farms under the Produce Safety Rule. 

“The review was facilitated by Western Growers and vetted through an open and transparent process before being presented to the LGMA’s Technical Committees in Arizona and California and ultimately to the full LGMA Board in both states. The process took several months to complete.” 

Sections were added to cover additional training and documentation requirements, the part on soil amendments to make sure certain products are shown to be treated in a way that kills Listeria monocytogenes and requirements were added for on-farm storage buildings and transporting leafy greens from the field to coolers.

Tim York, president of Markon, which purchases produce on behalf of foodservice distributors in the US and Canada, said: “Knowing that LGMA certification also means our leafy green suppliers are in full compliance with FSMA makes the LGMA certification status even more valuable.”

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