Arizona’s leafy green industry is responding to the recent report by the FDA, issuing the following statement on November 2:
“During the seven months it has taken the U.S. Food & Drug Administration (FDA) and Center for Disease Control to analyze and complete its final investigative report on last spring’s E.coli outbreak, Yuma’s agriculture community has worked to ensure the safety of its produce.”
“The Arizona leafy greens industry has gone to unprecedented lengths to protect the integrity of its produce as it heads into the 2018-2019 season. During the seven months it has taken the U.S. Food & Drug Administration (FDA) and Center for Disease Control to analyze and complete its final investigative report on last spring’s E.coli outbreak, Yuma’s agriculture community has worked collaboratively and tirelessly to ensure the safety of its produce.”
“Even before the FDA showed up on the ground here in Yuma following the outbreak, we were already working with some of the best and brightest minds in food safety, trying to figure out what happened and what we could do to prevent it from happening again,” said Yuma grower John Boelts, first vice president of the Arizona Farm Bureau and co-owner of Desert Premium Farms in Yuma. “While it would have been nice to have the final report earlier, there is nothing in the findings that we haven’t already anticipated and addressed in preparation for the upcoming season.”
Between the months of November and March, Arizona produces 130 million servings of leafy greens every day for U.S. consumers. The leafy greens community shares a common goal to continuously strengthen the way food is grown, harvested and distributed. The Arizona and California LGMA have put in place strict food safety practices to ensure the integrity of leafy greens grown, harvested, and shipped from Arizona and California. The Arizona LGMA aims to remedy potential issues through an intricate system of checks and balances and is administered by the Arizona Department of Agriculture. USDA-licensed officials audit the program.