Government Shutdown & Leafy Greens Food Safety: LGMA Audits Continue & CDC Calls Outbreak Over
The government shutdown does not affect LGMA food safety audits
The ongoing federal government shutdown has no effect on the on-farm food safety audits conducted through the California and Arizona LGMA programs. The LGMA programs utilize state agricultural auditors and the audits are funded by industry. In the Winter, Arizona and California produce almost all of the leafy greens grown in the U.S., so farm food safety audits continue and are not affected by the shutdown.
January 17 Update: In 26 days of the government shutdown, the LGMA programs in California and Arizona have conducted 26 farm food safety audits on leafy greens farms.
CDC declares the outbreak over
On Wednesday, January 9th, CDC issued an update on the November 2018 Romaine E. coli outbreak alerting consumers that the outbreak appears to be over. FDA elaborated, stating that “Contaminated romaine that made people sick in this outbreak should no longer be available on the market.”
FDA lifts advisory, continues their investigation
Previously, when announcing the outbreak, FDA had advised consumers to avoid Romaine lettuce from certain counties in California. That advisory is now lifted since the outbreak is over – meaning Romaine from all growing areas should be safe to consume.
FDA Commissioner Scott Gottlieb took to twitter on January 10th, sharing that FDA is continuing its investigation of this outbreak and working with growers to find the source of contamination. The LGMA looks forward to any investigation results as they can further strengthen our farm food safety program to ensure an outbreak like this does not happen again.
Leafy Greens Farming Community Working on Improvements
The leafy greens farming community is committed to protecting consumers and is collaborating to examine and update farming practices to make leafy greens safer. The LGMA provides a mechanism for quickly instituting and verifying that science-based food safety practices are being used in the growing and harvesting of leafy greens. The LGMA also has a wide reach as its members in California and Arizona produce over 90% of the lettuce and leafy greens grown in the U.S.