The California Leafy Greens Marketing Agreement Board approved changes to its rigorous food safety standards, or metrics, with respect to animal intrusion and composting practices. These actions represent a significant step forward in the evolution of food safety standards for leafy greens and will provide an improved system to assess and reduce potential risk in leafy greens fields while reducing the impact of food safety metrics on the environment.
The changes to LGMA metrics are a result of months of work throughout the leafy greens industry. The effort was led by Western Growers under the direction of Hank Giclas, senior vice president of strategic planning, science and technology for Western Growers, in collaboration with university scientists, industry food safety experts, farmers and shippers of leafy greens products, and the environmental community. Throughout this process, the industry has spent hundreds of man-hours reviewing current food safety research, talking with government regulators, meeting with scientists, environmentalists and industry to fully vet these new food safety standards through an open and transparent process.
The first priority for leafy greens farmers is always to protect public health and ensure that products are safe for consumers. But farmers are also conscious that their practices can impact the environment. One of the important benefits of the LGMA food safety model is that new science can be incorporated to improve practices and update them as necessary. These changes are a perfect example of the leafy greens industry working proactively to improve food safety, and at the same time, work diligently to address a number of different concerns.
The result is that scientists from food safety and environmental disciplines have expressed their approval of the new changes.