California and Arizona Leafy Greens Marketing Agreements Align with Produce Safety Rule
Prior to compliance with the new Food Safety Modernization Act (FSMA)’s Produce Safety rule is required for all U.S. produce farms, the California and Arizona Leafy Greens Marketing Agreements (LGMAs) have updated their required food safety practices to align with the new law.
“With this action by both the California and Arizona LGMA Boards update required food safety metrics, 90 percent of the leafy greens produced in the U.S. and certified through the LGMA’s system of mandatory government audits will be in full compliance with new laws under FSMA,” said Scott Horsfall, CEO of the California LGMA.
Teressa Lopez, program administrator for the Arizona LGMA, explained that “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.”
“We can now say with confidence that LGMA certification is equal to FSMA compliance,” emphasized Horsfall. “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.”
The LGMA programs will now work with the U.S. Department of Agriculture and the Departments of Agriculture in both California and Arizona so the changes can be incorporated into audit checklists. It is expected that LGMA members will begin being inspected to these new standards in early 2018 when compliance with new laws under FSMA becomes mandatory.
What the Specific Changes Entail
“The LGMA metrics were already closely aligned with the Produce Safety rule and, in many cases, exceeded requirements that are now part of FSMA,” said Hank Giclas, vice president of Western Growers, whose organization facilitated the process to update the LGMA metrics.
According to Giclas, 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 with respect to requirements concerning: environmental assessments; climatic conditions; animal encroachment and soil fertility. In addition, no changes were made to practices concerning water use since the FDA is still considering what will be required under FSMA in this area. Giclas emphasized the LGMA metrics have always included science-based practices to ensure water used in the farming of leafy greens is safe and adequately tested.
For more information on LGMA visit http://www.lgma.ca.gov/