A Survey of How Growers, Shippers, and Handlers Address Food Safety Risks from Wildlife in Leafy Greens
The September 2006 E. coli spinach outbreak eroded consumer confidence, costing the leafy green industry millions of dollars. In response in 2007, commodity-specific food safety guidelines for lettuce and leafy greens were adopted by the California Leafy Green Products Handler Marketing Agreement (CALGMA). The guidelines, known as the Commodity Specific Food Safety Guidelines for the Production and Harvest of Lettuce and Leafy Greens (CSGLLG) (Western Growers, http://www.wga.com/issues/food-safety, 2013), address food safety concerns associated with animals and animal events, and provide guidance for reducing potential crop contamination associated with wildlife risks. Today, CALGMA estimates that 99 % of California leafy green production volume, and roughly 75 % of leafy green production in the USA, are grown using these guidelines (CALGMA, http://www.caleafygreens.ca.gov/about-us/annual-reports, 2010).
KeywordsCalifornia Conservation Good agriculture practices Food industry Leafy Greens Marketing Agreement Produce food safety Spinach Survey Wildlife
We thank the members of the expert panel—Mary Bianchi, Chris Fischer, Sharan Lanini, Afreen Malik, Brendan Miele, Laura Mills, Michele Jay-Russell, and Ken Stearns. We are also grateful to Cecilia Crowley and Michael Mahovic from the FDA, Gregory McNair, and the auditors who reviewed the proposed changes from the USDA, Karen Lowell, and Vicki Scott from the AZLGMA. This study was supported by funding from the California Department of Food and Agriculture, grant #SCB09003, as part of the USDA’s Specialty Crop Block Grant program.
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