Grower-shippers have expressed support for the program.
“Citrus is different than lettuce,” said Tom Wollenman, general manager for LoBue Bros. Inc., Lindsay, Calif. “The likelihood of citrus being contaminated is far lower than many other agricultural products.”
That’s because citrus is washed, waxed and chlorinated in the packing shed and then peeled before it is eaten, he said.
“You have a chance to peel your potential problem away before you consume it.”
There are two levels of standards for produce, said Alex Teague, senior vice president and chief operating officer for Limoneira Co., Santa Paula, Calif.
The first is standards that apply to all commodities, but the second is for industry-specific requirements.
“We’re trying to be proactive in helping the industry narrow those down,” he said.
Ideally, there eventually will be a single set of standards that are accepted by the marketplace, he said.
“We’re all working our way toward that.”