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You’re Right, Darin — PCA Does NOT Reflect All in the Food Industry

People throughout the food industry are closely following the story of sentencing for Peanut Corporation of American executives who were convicted of criminal activities associated with a 2009 outbreak of salmonella linked to their product.

While this is being called ‘the first food poisoning trial of a U.S. food processor,’ the trial and ultimate fate of PCA executives stands in counterpoint to the way most food companies operate today.  Today, the responsibility to produce safe food is just part of what we do.  This is why  the LGMA was very pleased to see an opinion piece in last week’s Food Safety News authored by Darin Detwiler, Senior Policy Coordinator for STOP Foodborne Illness which states something we all know, but no one else seems to be saying –“PCA does not reflect ALL in the food Industry.”

STOP Foodborne Illness is an organization which represents people whose lives have been impacted by foodborne illness.  If you haven’t had a chance to check them out, please visit their website today to learn about the great work they do.  The LGMA has partnered with STOP in a number of areas –primarily because of our shared commitment to preventing foodborne illness.  In an excerpt from his piece, Darin Detwiler says that, unlike PCA…

…the vast majority of companies in the food industry strive to make food safety a priority each and every day. I work with some companies that invest in proactive measures to train employees and even indoctrinate their suppliers and distributors around their mission of food safety.

Darin goes on to reference the LGMA and specifically calls out our partnership with STOP to create a produce training video called “The WHY Behind Food Safety.”  We are very pleased that Darin noted this joint project as an example of what U.S. Food and Drug Administration Deputy Commissioner Michael Taylor called a great example of the “spirit of partnership which characterizes today’s food safety landscape.”

This training video is designed to stress the importance of proper food safety practices as the motivating factor when it comes to preventing people from getting sick.   The LGMA was created in 2007 after a tragic food safety event and the leafy greens community has always maintained this program and the resulting focus on science-based food safety practices for the production of leafy greens farms is the ‘right thing to do.”

We can tell you from experience that members of the LGMA respond well to this video, which tells the stories of two young women sickened in past foodborne illness outbreaks.

According to Sharan Lanini, Raw Product Food Safety Manager for Fresh Express, The LGMA/STOP video…

“…is a tremendous tool for those of us in the leafy green industry, and not only to train the field personnel. We also see the video as a tangible and cogent reminder to each and every member of our team from top management down, about why applying food safety metrics and good agricultural practices every day is an essential part of our business. The LGMA video brings the message home about the real reason we all must remain constantly vigilant about our food safety practices, and that is to provide the most nutritious and safe lettuce and leafy green products for our consumers! Fresh Express uses the video to train our harvesters, and all of our employees, including top management in regional and seasonal food safety sessions.”

Since the release of this video last year, the LGMA has taken every opportunity to make sure it is seen by everyone in the leafy greens community.  It is played in all of our employee training workshops and has been provided to every single LGMA Member.  We encourage LGMA members to share it widely with their own employees.

To learn more about the LGMA program and our commitment to public health, please visit our website at www.lgma.ca.gov


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