Oscar Bucio describes how his harvest crews implement good agricultural practices.
Last week the California Leafy Greens Marketing Agreement hosted its third annual Farm Food Safety Tour. The tour is a trade outreach effort that allows quality assurance and purchasing staff from buying organizations see firsthand how the LGMA is creating a culture of food safety on California Farms. This year the tour was co-hosted by the California Tomato Farmers. It just made sense for these two innovative programs to host the tour together on two of the most commonly used produce items. Although the programs are not identical, both require their members to implement a set of science based metrics that are then verified through government audits.
Fourteen representatives from eleven buying organizations joined this year’s tour. Among the companies represented were: Burger King, Carl’s Jr., Costco, Del Taco, Dine Equity, In-N-Out, Jack in the Box, Markon Cooperative, Pro*Act, Taco Bell and Yum Brands.
The group spent one whole day focusing on the LGMA program and one whole day on the California Tomato Farmer’s program. During the LGMA portion of the tour the group drove to the Santa Maria lettuce growing region where they spent the morning discussing food safety with the grower and observing a mock audit with the USDA-trained California Department of Food and Agriculture auditors. Next the group took a lunch break and then gathered for a roundtable discussion of the LGMA program. Here they received a general overview of the program and also got a detailed description of the organization’s compliance and enforcement arm and continuous improvement efforts, like member workshops.
When asked about the value of the tour, attendee Scott Brooks of Yum Brands stated:
“I found it very helpful to learn more about the USDA audit program. I was not aware of all that goes into the program, such as the extensive training and calibration of the USDA auditors. This was really eye opening to me and something I will take back and share.
We expect suppliers to comply with LGMA food safety practices for all sources of leafy greens.”
Anyone interested in more details about this, or future tours can reach out to me anytime: email@example.com