Deadline Draws Near for Second 2011/2012 California Leafy Greens Marketing Agreement Membership Sign Up
The California Leafy Greens Marketing Agreement (LGMA )is currently accepting sign-up forms from new signatories for the 2011/2012 fiscal year. In order to participate in the LGMA program from October 1, 2011 – March 31, 2012 handlers need to submit a sign-up form to the LGMA office by end of day on October 1, 2011. The form is available at the marketing agreement’s website: www.lgma.ca.gov
The LGMA Advisory Board recently passed a policy change that will allow for a second sign-up period with a deadline of October 1st. The April 1st deadline is timely for companies in the Salinas region, but the new October 1st deadline accommodates handlers in other regions of the state like Imperial Valley and San Joaquin Valley.
Current members do not need to sign up again.
Handlers who would like to join the LGMA need to verify that they meet the LGMA’s definition of a handler and also that they handle at least one of the leafy green products covered under the LGMA program.
The LGMA defines a handler as: Any person who handles, processes, ships any person who handles, processes, ships or distributes leafy green product for market whether as owner, agent, employee, broker or otherwise. This definition does not include a retailer.
Leafy green products covered by the LGMA include: arugula, baby leaf lettuce, butter lettuce, cabbage, chard, endive, escarole, green leaf lettuce, iceberg lettuce, kale, red leaf lettuce, romaine lettuce, spinach and spring mix.
Prospective members should review the New Members section on the LGMA website. Once enrolled in the program members are subject to compliance audits conducted by California Department of Food and Agriculture inspectors. The goal of these audits is to verify that handlers, and their growers, are complying with the accepted Food Safety Practices of the LGMA.
New members of the LGMA are subject to assessments on all California grown leafy greens handled by the company during the period of October 1, 2011 – March 31, 2012.
Since 2007 handlers of California lettuce, spinach and other leafy greens have been protecting public health by establishing a culture of food safety on the farm through the California Leafy Greens Marketing Agreement. Buyers of leafy green products look for LGMA certification to see if their suppliers are certified LGMA members; additionally both Canada and Mexico have regulations in place allowing imports of leafy greens only from LGMA-certified companies