By Brian German, AgNet West
The California Leafy Greens Marketing Agreement (LGMA) is updating food safety measures for the production of leafy greens. The LGMA Advisory Board recently voted to accept a series of changes to help bolster food safety protocols. A series of subcommittees has been reviewing several areas of food safety within the guidelines which could be improved upon. More than 50 changes have been approved with many focused on the areas of farm water use and sanitation of fields and equipment.
Some of the most substantive changes in LGMA’s new food safety measures pertain to water use in leafy greens fields. Some of the changes include new requirements related to the use of water during overheard applications of pesticides and other crop protection materials. The updates also bolster monitoring requirements for water to provide for regular water quality testing, with samples taken throughout irrigation systems. Amendments were also approved to help minimize the potential for furrow irrigation water to come into contact with any edible areas of the leafy greens plant.
The new food safety measures also include changes to sanitation procedures. The approved changes have updated some of the best practices for cleaning equipment, tools, containers and bathroom facilities that are deployed in leafy greens fields. New language that was adopted is also aimed at eliminating the potential for cut ends of leafy greens to come into contact with the ground while harvesting. The collection of updates is in addition to the substantial changes that LGMA implemented less than a year ago.
The recently approved updates are being forwarded to the California Department of Pesticide Regulation so they can be included in the food safety checklists used by auditors to ensure the new protocols are being adhered to. LGMA will be working to educate members on the new standards and how to remain in compliance. Additional food safety measures related to soil amendments and inputs, as well as adjacent lands will be announced soon as the subcommittees consider their recommendations.