Apr 20, 2021LGMA endorses pre-harvest testing to reduce foodborne illness outbreaks
The California Leafy Greens Marketing Agreement Board has endorsed new Pre-Harvest Testing guidance in an effort to prevent foodborne illness outbreaks associated with lettuce and leafy greens. The guidance calls for pre-harvest testing of leafy greens products when risk assessments deem it necessary, specifically when grown in proximity to animals.
“We are endorsing pre-harvest testing in direct response to FDA’s recent report on E. coli outbreaks associated with lettuce in 2020, which identified the recurring E. coli strain implicated in this outbreak to be a reasonably foreseeable hazard. We want to send a clear message to FDA that our industry is, in fact, taking additional measures to prevent outbreaks,” Dan Sutton, chairman of the California Leafy Greens Marketing Agreement (LGMA), said in a news release.
In addition to the Pre-Harvest Testing Guidance document, the LGMA Board endorsed several other updates to the food safety standards that are currently being developed by the LGMA Technical Committee and expected to become a requirement in the coming months. Projects currently under development include:
- An adjacent land risk assessment tool.
- Root cause analysis requirement for high-risk food safety incidents.
- Major revision to existing standards for soil amendments and crop inputs.
These important tools and revisions have been in development for several months and they represent input from food safety experts and researchers throughout the industry.
– April Ward, California LGMA