In light of an ongoing egg recall, the produce industry is finding itself to be the recipient of some positive publicity.
A CNN reporter and camera crew spent Aug. 26 in a Salinas, Calif., lettuce field talking with Jess Quinlan, president of Sabor Farms; Scott Horsfall, president and chief executive officer of the California Leafy Greens Marketing Agreement, and representatives from the California Department of Food and Agriculture.
What resulted were two television segments, live from a green leaf lettuce field during harvest, with the message that the leafy greens industry has done something influential with food safety in the last three years.
San Francisco CNN correspondent Dan Simon introduced LGMA as a response to the 2006 E. coli outbreak an interviewed Quinlan about what the agreement meant for the California lettuce and leafy greens industry. Simon said the food safety efforts are a positive example from the last three years.
“For the first time they allowed government auditors to come into the fields and inspect what they were doing,” Simon said in the later segment, which aired at 12:30 CST.
The industry lacked government oversight before, which didn’t make sense, Simon said.
Quinlan explained that through LGMA, the industry created universal standards for growers to follow.
“We know what we need to do now,” Quinlan said. “Everybody knows that food safety is a No. 1 priority now.”
In the earlier segment, Horsfall was interviewed, preceded by an interview with foodborne illness lawyer Bill Marler about the egg recall.
“Bill Marler’s been putting pressure on the Senate to move,” said April Ward, communications director for LGMA. “This definitely paints the industry in a positive light and really credits them for everything they’ve done.”
The LGMA model is being considered for national implementation through food safety legislation.