Arizona leafy green growers implement comprehensive water metrics
Industry leaders and growers spent several months developing new guidelines and standards
As the 2019-2020 growing season commences, the most comprehensive and exhaustive water metric guidelines are being implemented by leafy green growers in Arizona. The goal: to deliver the safest produce for consumers to enjoy with their families and without worry.
Members of the Arizona Leafy Greens Marketing Agreement (Arizona LGMA) Technical Subcommittee have worked for several months, contributing countless of hours, to redefine the best practice water standards. The recommendations were approved and adopted by the Arizona LGMA Food Safety Committee on August 29.
These new water metrics are expected to be particularly helpful in facilitating data collection for growers to better identify potential risks. Having these answers will allow for faster response and execution of mitigation efforts.
Leading up to the official implementation of these new metrics, the Arizona LGMA has been rolling out a series of workshops and training sessions developed and led by Arizona LGMA Technical Assistant Vicki-Lynne Scott. Dr. Channah Rock from University of Arizona and other agriculture industry partners collaborated in the delivery of training sessions to help growers understand how to best put them into practice the new metrics specific to their respective operations.
“We have spent countless hours going over and reviewing every aspect of our industry,” said Scott. “It’s an ongoing effort, but we are continuing a proud heritage of growing and distributing quality leafy greens to customers throughout the U.S.”
California’s leafy greens industry adopted similar water metric guidelines in April 2019. Arizona LGMA refined these metrics to better address the practicality of using surface water, setting the highest produce industry standards for water.
Two recent E-coli outbreaks from romaine grown and shipped from Arizona and California brought the industry together, including scientists and researchers from the University of Arizona, trade associations and both the Arizona and California LGMA.
The water metrics add to new standards adopted during the previous season, including rigorous environmental assessments, more prescriptive harvesting practices, expanded buffer zones between agriculture and potential sources of contamination, and improved trace-backs through labeling requirements.