As government budgets tighten throughout the world, recent news reports have warned that Canada’s Food Inspection Agency (CFIA) may be forced to eliminate 100 of its food inspectors, many of whom work to inspect foods imported into the country. CFIA President George Da Pont assured consumers of the agency’s commitment to protecting public health in an editorial that appeared last week in the Toronto Star.
The LGMA echoes the sentiments expressed by Mr. Da Pont and would like to point out an additional means for both Canadian and U.S. consumers to be assured about the safety of their food, specifically leafy greens from California. By law, all leafy greens imported into Canada, must come from certified members of the LGMA. Handlers certified under this program agree to government audit of their leafy greens farms to ensure a set of science-based food safety practices are being followed. Widespread commitment to the LGMA food safety program exists throughout the California leafy greens industry with 99 percent of all leafy greens grown in California subject to mandatory government audit.
The Canadian Food Inspection Agency has been a long-time supporter of the LGMA program. In fact, Canada was the first country to implement the import requirement for California leafy greens. And just last May during the Canadian Produce Marketing Association’s annual convention, the LGMA honored CFIA with its Golden Checkmark Award in recognition of support for government oversight of food safety systems within the produce industry. We are convinced, as CFIA President Da Pont states in his editorial, the agency will continue to “focus on its core mandate of food safety, animal and plant health, and consumer protection.” We join CFIA in working to ensure the safety of leafy greens.