The California Leafy Greens Marketing Agreement, is reviewing updated processes relating to water metrics and soil amendments.
The group has also established a new process to review and update standards, and that includes web seminars to gather input on proposed changes.
The first of those web seminars is on proposed water metrics, at 10 a.m.-noon Pacific, May 14. Registration is online.
The changes relate to drip and furrow irrigation and application of chemicals, as well as enhanced sampling requirement, and are available online.
“California’s leafy greens farmers are hard at work every day implementing new, more stringent food safety practices on their farms,” Scott Horsfall, CEO of the California LGMA, said in a news release. “At the same time, we’re all focused on further strengthening the food safety standards required under the LGMA to protect consumers and prevent future outbreaks.”
A subcommittee of industry members and scientists have been reviewing the group’s water metrics since August, and more than 30 changes have been recommended, said Sharon Lanini of Pacific International Marketing, who is the LGMA’s technical committee chairwoman.
“The recommendations include updated requirements for drip and furrow irrigation as well as water used for chemical applications,” Lanini said in the release. “These updates are in addition to enhanced water metrics adopted by the LGMA last year for sprinkler applied water treatments during the last 21 days prior to harvest.”
Besides the water subcommittee, similar groups for equipment sanitation, soil amendments/crop inputs, adjacent land use and proximity to animals have been established.
The soil/crop input group is considering standards to address compost applications, container ID and tracking and inputs applied on neighboring properties, according to the release. The equipment and packing materials subcommittee is considering enhanced standards on harvest equipment and personnel and includes human-vectored pathogens including Cyclospora and the coronavirus.
Comments are being accepted on harvest equipment and sanitation practices until the end of May.
The new process for updating the LGMA standards uses Western Growers as an independent party, to solicit and collect input. A website, www.leafygreenguidance.com, and calendar outlines when topics will be reviewed.
“The goal is to create unified standards for how leafy greens are farmed using the best science and expertise available from throughout the leafy greens community,” Horsfall said. “Water is just the first topic to be addressed. This same process is planned for other areas of the LGMA metrics.”
Food safety audits continue during the pandemic, with unannounced and announced visits.
“The real work of implementing food safety practices is being done every day by leafy greens farmers,” Horsfall said in the release. “The role of the LGMA is to unify the industry under one common set of science-based food safety practices.”