Canada’s Food Inspection Agency will now accept two forms of testing for importing romaine lettuce from Central Coast counties. Last year the agency began accepting only romaine that had undergone testing after being harvested and packaged for sale.
The new temporary import requirement allows for preharvest testing as well. The counties involved include Santa Cruz, Santa Clara, San Benito and Monterey.
Tim York, CEO of the California Leafy Greens Marketing Agreement, explained that preharvest testing is more efficient, less costly and provides more assurance.
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“We want to emphasize the Canadian government has long recognized the efforts of lettuce farmers under the LGMA to ensure safety,” said York in a statement.
Rep. Jimmy Panetta of Carmel Valley cheered the news as well.
“Last year Canada’s food safety testing procedures were announced and implemented tumultuously, resulting in the loss of safe, healthy product from the Salinas Valley,” said Panetta.
He has been working with the U.S. trade representative, USDA, FDA and LGMA to develop a stronger, more efficient system.