'The right thing in the right way'
» January 12, 2007 «
Farm leader supports uniform standards for leafy greens
Saying that farmers want to do the right thing and to do it the right way, the leader of the state's largest farm group says a proposed new food-safety program for leafy green crops offers the best way to move most quickly, to enhance the safety work already underway on California farms.
California Farm Bureau Federation President Doug Mosebar testified today at a public hearing in Monterey, regarding creation of a marketing agreement governing handlers of leafy greens such as lettuce and spinach. He noted that consumers, farmers, retailers, regulators and others demand change in food-safety practices for leafy green vegetables.
"Our main concern is the health of the people who buy and eat California-grown foods," Mosebar said. "The spinach incident underscores the importance of handlers and farmers creating a program that will establish best-management practices that can be uniformly applied and verified."
The marketing agreement would apply to businesses that handle, process, ship or distribute leafy green products for market. A separate program, called a marketing order, would be created for farmers. It would adopt mandatory best-management practices, overseen by the state Department of Food and Agriculture, for production of leafy greens.
Mosebar said the overall program will create a system to implement and verify effective practices that will improve food safety and respond quickly to food safety issues.
"We see the signing up of handlers to this agreement as an important piece in proving to consumers that we are willing to change and to implement a program that will review, assess and enforce a food-safety program for leafy-green handlers and growers," he said.
Mosebar said the marketing agreement and marketing order program can be put in place quickly and will provide the flexibility to respond rapidly to new scientific data and consumer needs.
The California Farm Bureau Federation works to protect family farms and ranches on behalf of nearly 92,000 members.
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