The Important Role that Produce Buyers Play in Enforcing LGMA Certification
The Packer recently published an article that reflects upon the most recent romaine lettuce e. Coli outbreak and tells produce buyers why they have an important role to play in helping to enforce the LGMA food safety program. The article, Industry Can No Longer Deny Food Safety Vulnerability, is written by Tim York of Markon Cooperative – a Salinas, California based fresh produce distribution company that supplies foodservice companies in the U.S. and Canada.
In the article, Tim’s clearly explains why making LGMA certification should be a buyer requirement:
So far, one farm has been identified in Santa Barbara County by the Food and Drug Administration as a source of contaminated romaine. While I can’t speak about the practices on that individual farm, we do know this grower is not a participant in LGMA. Although LGMA cannot guarantee the safety of all leafy green crops, it does represent industry best practices and can be adjusted quickly to respond to new science.
Chick-fil-A is another company who requires LGMA certification for all its suppliers of leafy greens. Although Chick-fil-A is known for their chicken, they also serve over 160 million pounds of produce each year. Back in 2015 we spoke with Dr. Steven Lyon, Chick-fil-A’s Food Safety Solutions Principal Program Lead.
Here is one of the things that Steven shared with us:
“What’s critical for us is that we find a program like the LGMA that uses academia, local government as well as industry buy-in and has them tie it all together so we ensure, literally, from farm to the back door of the restaurant that items are produced safely.”
In short, if you buy from LGMA certified member companies, you know that the leafy greens you purchase have been grown according to strict industry standards – standards that are updated as new science and new information dictates. If you work for a grocery chain, a restaurant chain or a produce distribution company and would like to find out more information on how you can make LGMA certification a requirement for your organization, we have more information below – or you can connect with our Marketing Director, April Ward.