Arizona and California Partner to Produce Safe Food
Together, California and Arizona provide 94.7 percent of the leafy greens grown in the US: California is the leading producer of leafy greens in the nation, and Arizona is #2. During the winter months more leafy greens come out of Arizona than California.
Both states have an LGMA program to verify through government audit that leafy greens are produced using a set of science-based food safety practices. Through the LGMA, American consumers enjoy over 50 billion servings of leafy greens every year that are not just healthy, but produced under a system of mandatory government audits.
This week the Advisory Boards for California and Arizona’s LGMA programs will hold their annual joint meeting in El Centro, California. During the winter most leafy green vegetable farmers are operating in either southern California or Arizona or both. California LGMA Board members are often already in the area checking on fields and processing plants, so it offers a great opportunity for the two boards to get together, review activities and discuss joint projects.
The California and Arizona Leafy Greens Marketing Agreements have a lot in common. They were formed at roughly the same time in 2007, with California leading the way and Arizona following a few months later. Both programs were created with the goal of protecting public health, have direct oversight by the Departments of Food and Agriculture in their respective states, and rely on a system of mandatory audits conducted by unbiased, financially-independent government food safety auditors.
The two states share more than just a love of leafy greens farming: they share a commitment to producing the safest food possible and maintaining a culture of food safety throughout their farms. One of the factors that helps to create this culture of food safety is a comprehensive training program designed to ensure that everyone working to produce leafy greens knows and follows required LGMA food safety practices.
In 2010 the Arizona LGMA rolled out its award-winning food safety training kit for leafy greens workers, which was created with noted food safety training expert Sergio Nieto Montenegro, Ph.D. Here is a great video that shows Sergio explaining the Arizona core program.
In 2014, The California LGMA launched a complementary training program called LGMA Tech, which was created under the direction of CA LGMA Technical Director Mike Villaneva. This program focuses on building the teaching skills of trainers so they can be more effective educators.
Much more information about the Arizona LGMA is available on their website. At this time of year, it’s highly likely the leafy greens you’re eating come from Arizona. But whether your leafy greens come from the Golden State or the Grand Canyon State, rest assured they are grown by farmers who consider food safety their top priority.