Jul 11, 2023California LGMA launches Romaine testing program
The California Leafy Greens Marketing Agreement (LGMA) has initiated a two-year food safety study on pathogens in Romaine lettuce, which has been the target of investigations of foodborne illness outbreaks in recent years.
The initiative, dubbed Romaine Test & Learn, involves collecting and analyzing LGMA grower-members’ pathogen test data for Romaine lettuce, for both pre-harvest and postharvest testing.
“Romaine Test & Learn represents the most significant change the LGMA has made to benefit food safety since its inception,” Jan Berk, LGMA chair said in a news release. “This program will allow our members’ individual testing data to collectively provide meaningful, aggregated data to better understand potential risks.”
Romaine Test & Learn was inspired by the Aviation Safety Information Analysis and Sharing program used to revolutionize commercial aviation through aggregation and sharing of safety data — the first of its kind in the fresh produce industry, according to the LGMA..
“The airline safety model shows us that sharing data can improve safety,” Tim York, LGMA CEO, said in the release. “That is why we are embarking on this project — to make lettuce even safer for consumers to enjoy.”
Although testing is not mandatory for LGMA members, anyone who does testing will be required to meet a minimum protocols for collecting and testing samples. It is estimated that more than 90% of LGMA members conduct Romaine lettuce pathogen testing. This project will collect and analyze all their test data for the next two years.
California LGMA has partnered with Western Growers to use their GreenLink data sharing and data analytics platform.
The California LGMA is a food safety program that brings farmers together to make lettuce and leafy greens safer. LGMA members produce over 70% of the lettuce and leafy greens grown in the U.S., adding up to more than 30 billion servings a year. In an effort to provide consumers with safe leafy greens, the California LGMA verifies food safety practices, enforces through government audits, and requires a commitment to continuous improvement.