Again, the LGMA, along with programs operated under the Florida Tomato Exchange, Arizona Leafy Greens Marketing Agreement, California Cantaloupe Advisory Board and the California Tomato Farmers cooperative are in place to protect consumers now — not months or years from now.
As we all begin the process of reviewing the specifics of the FDA’s proposed food safety rule, we’re confident programs like these are already providing a mechanism for implementation of the requirements under FSMA. We are also hopeful that FSMA will promote a unification of standards so that each commodity can operate under a level playing field and the practice of multiple and duplicative audits will cease.
But, of the highest importance is that industry, government, consumer groups and food safety experts all work together to successfully increase the safety of our foods for our consumers and our families.
This goal is precisely why these private/public partnership programs with government oversight were created years ago.
Through their creation, a new culture of “food safety first” has permeated throughout our leafy greens, cantaloupe and tomato farms and fields.
Our farmers don’t want any more outbreaks and the victims of previous outbreaks deserve to know that we are all committed — government and industry alike — to doing better.
Scott Horsfall is chief executive officer of the California Leafy Greens Marketing Agreement. Reggie Brown, executive vice president of the Florida Tomato Exchange; Steve Patricio, chairman of the California Cantaloupe Advisory Board; and Chris Zanobini, executive director of California Tomato Farmers, contributed to this column.
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