Food Safety is a top priority for IVVGA. View the reasons why as filmed by Leafy Green Marketing Agreement.
California Department of Pesticide Regulation-2015 Report
Released December 16, 2016
Tests on produce collected by the California Department of Pesticide Regulation (DPR) indicate the vast majority of fruits and vegetables available for sale in California meet stringent pesticide safety standards. During its 2015 survey, DPR found 97.3 percent of tested California-grown produce had little or no pesticide residues.
The findings are included in DPR's just released 2015 Pesticide Residues in Fresh Produce report.
"These results demonstrate California's commitment to food safety," said Brian Leahy, Director of DPR. "Our scientific program ensures that growers continue to produce fresh fruits and vegetables that consumers can safely enjoy."
The report is based on year-round collection of approximately 3,600 samples of produce, including those labelled as "organic," conducted by DPR scientists at grocery stores, farmers markets, food distribution centers, and other outlets throughout California.
The produce is tested for more than 350 types of pesticides using state of the art equipment operated by the California Department of Food and Agriculture.
The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (U.S. EPA) sets levels for the amount of pesticide residue that can be present on fruits and vegetables that will not cause adverse health impacts when consumed. The highest residue level that is allowed on a commodity is called a "tolerance." It is a violation if a residue exceeds the established tolerance for the specific fruit or vegetable, or if a pesticide for which no tolerance has been established is detected. However, a sample with an illegal pesticide residue does not necessarily indicate a potential health concern.
Food Safety Modernization Act (FSMA) Update
The FDA Food Safety Modernization Act (FSMA), the most sweeping reform of our food safety laws in more than 70 years, was signed into law by President Obama on January 4, 2011. It aims to ensure the U.S. food supply is safe by shifting the focus from responding to contamination to preventing it. Some of the regulation are are a direct result of growers and shippers comments, through Leafy Greens Marketing Agreement (LGMA), Western Growers Association (WGA), and our own Imperial Valley Vegetable Growers Association (IVVGA). Effective November 16, 2015, FDA is still developing many of the specific guidelines. Some of the ones completed are noted below.
Water Testing: We are pleased to report that the new regulations did not include the 7-day water testing requirement for surface waters and the FDA used the guidelines established by the LGMA, a leader in food safety issues. The LGAM had established guidelines that use water testing and monitoring procedures allowing producers to stay on top of water quality changes so that water quality can be addressed in real time. The vast majority of IVVGA growers were already using these guidelines. In Imperial Valley our water source is the Colorado River, not ground water.
Compliance dates for covered activities, except for those involving sprouts, after the effective date of the final rule are:
- Very small businesses, those with more than $25,000 but no more than $250,000 in average annual produce sales during the previous three year period: four years (January 26, 2020)
- Small businesses, those with more than $250,000 but no more than $500,000 in average annual produce sales during the previous three year period: three years. (January 26, 2019)
- All other farms: two years. January 26, 2018)
The compliance dates for certain aspects of the water quality standards, and related testing and record keeping provisions, allow an additional two years beyond each of these compliance dates for the rest of the final rule. Compliance dates for modified requirements for farms eligible for a qualified exemption are:
- For labeling requirement (if applicable): January 26, 2020.
- For retention of records supporting eligibility for a qualified exemption: Effective date of the final rule. (January 26, 2016)
For all other modified requirements:
- Very small businesses, four years after the effective date of the final rule (January 26, 2020)
- Small businesses, three years after the effective date of the final rule. (January 26, 2019)
Compliance dates for covered activities involving sprouts after the effective date of the final rule are:
- Very small businesses: three years (January 26, 2019)
- Small businesses: two years (January 26, 2018)
- All other farms (January 26, 2017)
Another important area addressed in the final version of the Produce Rule was the definition of “farm” and “harvest.” The changes with respect to the harvest definition made it clear that some common leafy greens practices –such as field coring— are examples of “harvest” rather than of “processing,” and are subject to the Produce Rule’s provisions.
Food Safety Recalls:
- As of December 31, 2017, no recalls for produce grown or packed in California have been issued in 2016 or 2017.
Food safety is a top priority for all IVVGA Members.