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WASHINGTON, D.C. -- In a joint effort to help the fresh produce industry ensure the highest levels of food safety, the International Fresh-cut Produce Association (IFPA), Produce Marketing Association (PMA), United Fresh Fruit & Vegetable Association (United) and Western Growers (WG) released a set of food safety guidelines called.
"Commodity Specific Food Safety Guidelines for the Lettuce and Leafy Greens Supply Chain" provides food safety guidance for the entire lettuce and leafy greens supply chain, including production and harvest, post harvest, fresh-cut and value-added, distribution, and end-user handling operations. The document identifies specific food safety guidance to lettuce growers, shippers, packers, processors, transportation providers, retailers, and foodservice operators.
"United, PMA, IFPA, WG and our industry partners have made food safety our top priority," said Jim Gorny, vice president of quality assurance and technology for United and editor-in-chief of the guidance document. "We are committed to continual improvement of produce safe handling practices and suggest that all companies involved in the lettuce and leafy greens supply chain consider the recommendations contained within these guidelines."
"Our organizations are committed to the common goal of assuring consumer confidence in the safety of fresh fruits and vegetables," said Kathy Means, PMA v.p. of government relations. "Everyone in the supply chain is responsible for food safety. Our industry takes this charge very seriously and is proud of the contribution we make to the health of consumers by providing foods that are not only safe but essential for good health."
"With this unprecedented, collaborative effort among industry members, academic experts and government, the fresh produce industry has made important strides in food safety," said David Gombas, Ph.D., v.p. of technical services for IFPA.
"This first edition of the Commodity Specific Food Safety Guidance is an important part of a comprehensive approach to further enhancing the safety of the food supply," said Hank Giclas, WG v.p. of science and technology. "The guidelines are a living, breathing document and will be updated periodically to reflect changing industry practice or new scientific knowledge."
The document is available at http://www.fresh-cuts.org, http://www.pma.com, http://www.uffva.org and http://www.wga.com the respective Web sites of IFPA, PMA, United and WG.