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Inspections of California and Arizona leafy greens, as outlined in the Leafy Greens Marketing Agreements for those crops, continue despite the spread of COVID-19.

The California group is informing retailers, foodservice buyers and consumers that food safety efforts outlined in the LGMAs’ rules are being covered as the harvest season in Arizona and the California desert region wrap up and the transition to California’s Central Coast and Central Valley begins.

Those services are considered “essential” by the California and Arizona departments of agriculture, which oversee the LGMAs’ inspections.

“We are asking auditors and members to take all precautions necessary,” Scott Horsfall, California LGMA CEO, said in a news release. “This is a rapidly changing situation, but when it comes to LGMA audits, they are expected to continue for the foreseeable future. If anything changes the LGMA will keep people updated.”
California LGMA members are audited an average of five times a year.

Health officials and members of the fresh produce industry continue to stress there’s no evidence that produce or other foods spread COVID-19. Horsfall said it’s also important to educate consumers what the LGMAs do to protect the food supply.

Among other food safety measures, the LGMAs:

  • Ensure field workers have access to sanitizer, bathroom facilities and handwashing stations;
  • Enforce handwashing requirements for workers throughout the day;
  • Train workers on proper handwashing and other hygiene; and
  • Enforce sick policies that bar ill workers from coming into contact with leafy greens; and
  • Ensure harvest equipment and tools are sanitized.

April Ward, communications director for the California LGMA, wrote “A Dozen Things to Know About Leafy Greens” in relation to the virus.

The California LGMA is also working with the Produce for Better Health Foundation and its dieticians to encourage consumption of fresh produce, according to the release.

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