As Romaine Outbreak is Declared Over, LGMA Steps Up Efforts to Improve Safety
January 15, 2020|
From the FDA statement:
Federal health officials are declaring two multi-state romaine lettuce outbreaks over. One of the outbreaks sickened 167 people in 27 states. The other outbreak, linked to Fresh Express salad kits, sickened 10 people in five states. There was also a third outbreak in Washington State that sickened 11 people. This outbreak has also been declared over.
Since the advisory was first issued on November 21, 2019 California leafy greens farmers have taken action to prevent future outbreaks.
At a recent meeting of the LGMA, leaders from throughout the California leafy greens community agreed it is industry’s responsibility to strengthen their mandatory food safety practices even further.
The LGMA acknowledged all of the work being done by FDA to help determine the exact cause of recent outbreaks. Details of the investigation are outlined in today’s statement but, to date, investigators have been unable to determine the source of the outbreaks.
According to the FDA:
Our investigation is ongoing, and we are doing everything possible to find the source or sources of contamination. The investigation into how this contamination occurred is important, so romaine growers can implement measures that will prevent future contamination and illnesses.
Work is already underway to do just that.
The LGMA is currently conducting a systematic overhaul of the food safety practices included in our program. We’re working with our industry partner Western Growers to conduct an open, transparent review of the required food safety practices under the LGMA. We will be bringing in outside expertise so that we can incorporate new knowledge and research.
Additionally, a special meeting hosted by the California Department of Food and Agriculture (CDFA) is being planned for February 4 in Salinas. Growers are being invited to participate in a discussion about research opportunities available through a broad study that will monitor environmental conditions in California that may be contributing to outbreaks.
The benefit of the LGMA system is that when we make changes to our requirements, they are implemented on thousands of farms that produce over 90% of leafy greens grown in the U.S. Government auditors will then verify growers are following the new practices through mandatory government audits. No other food safety program in the world has this capability.