(Nov. 9) Igniting what is likely to be an industrywide discussion, Western Growers president Tom Nassif said a buyer group — which includes heavyweights Wal-Mart and McDonald’s — asking growers to comply with a new and tougher version of on-farm food safety standards could trigger an “arms race” of unreasonable and expensive demands.

In a Nov. 6 letter to Publix Supermarket Inc.’s Garry Bergstrom, a member of the Food Safety Leadership Council, Nassif said Western Growers was bewildered by the actions of the council in appearing to ignore the California Leafy Green Products Handler Marketing Agreement by setting down standards of its own without apparent input from the grower and supplier community.

Western Growers released the letter to The Packer. To read the letter (outdated link – contact the web editor at webeditor@thepacker.com if you need this information)