Hall is also executive director of the Eastern Cantaloupe Growers Association, representing food safety efforts in the wake of several foodborne illness outbreaks linked to cantaloupes.
"Because we have FSMA to provide regulations, I think terminating the national agreement is appropriate," Hall said.
“Since the Food Safety Modernization Act was signed by President Obama and draft produce safety rules were released for comment, it seemed like the national LGMA was kind of a moot point," said Joe Pezzini, chief operating officer at Ocean Mist Farms and former California LGMA chairman. "The fallback now is the produce safety rules. We don’t really know what those are going to be; the FDA might even make an interim ruling. What we had envisioned as a national leafy greens marketing agreement will have to be covered by this produce safety rule.”
Although the USDA’s decision doesn’t directly effect the California/Arizona leafy green industry, it does raise questions about how the FSMA will address issues specifically related to leafy greens across the country.
“Hopefully, with the termination of this rule proceeding, USDA can reengage in food safety in a meaningful way and work constructively with reluctant parties to foster a culture and commitment to food safety,” Nassif said in his statement.
FSMA, Nassif said, faces many of the same opponents that a national LGMA faced.
“It is time to stop saying no to food safety on the farm and engage in the development of preventive programs at all levels,” he said.