California produce officials prep for safety changes - The Packer

California produce officials prep for safety changes

05/16/2013 10:01:00 AM
Mike Hornick

SAN DIEGO — From upgrading food safety training to taking a possible role in verifying compliance, the Sacramento-based California Leafy Greens Marketing Agreement is responding to the Food Safety Modernization Act on several fronts.

“The main thing for us is how the FDA will verify compliance,” Scott Horsfall, chief executive officer, said on the United Fresh trade show floor in San Diego. “We’re proposing they use the LGMA here and in Arizona as the mechanism to verify compliance once the rules are final. We just don’t want to see another layer of audits, inspections and regulations.”

The California LGMA, Horsfall said, is expanding its training and education efforts and incorporating the results gradually. “We want to formalize a curriculum and align it closely with FSMA requirements for training,” he said May 15. “It’s happening now but it will probably take a couple years to achieve in full.”

Horsfall said he supports the produce safety rules proposed for FSMA, but with some reservations.

“For some reason, they included kale as a product that is rarely consumed raw, which means that it is not covered by the rules,” he said. “We cover kale. It’s booming in sales and is being eaten raw extensively. So we will recommend strongly that kale be included on the list of regulated products. We will continue to regulate it either way.”

“Like a lot of people, we have issues with some of FDA’s water testing requirements,” Horsfall said. “They called for weekly testing of surface waters, which we think is excessive. So we’ll provide some background and statistics to show that our requirements of monthly water testing should be sufficient.”



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