USDA Terminates Leafy Greens Marketing Agreement
December 9th, 2013
Last week, the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Agricultural Marketing Service (AMS) terminated the process for developing a national leafy greens marketing agreement (NLGMA). In 2009, members of the produce industry petitioned AMS to begin a process for establishing a national agreement modeled off of existing state-based agreements in California and Arizona. Under the proposal, farmers would be forced to follow certain food safety standards in order to sell to handlers participating in the agreement.
NSAC welcomes the termination of the NLGMA process. In its comments on the proposed NLGMA, NSAC strongly opposed the development of the NLGMA. While there were many issues with the proposal, one of the reasons NSAC opposed the NLGMA was that it would have created a duplicative food safety regime and potentially conflicting requirements with the regulations being developed by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) as part of the implementation of the Food Safety Modernization Act (FSMA). This would have created a classic case of overlapping and inconsistent government requirements, causing general confusion and extra costs for farmers without a clear benefit. In its notice about the termination, AMS acknowledged this issue, and admitted that the ongoing FSMA rulemaking “may affect fundamental aspects of the proposed leafy greens vegetable marketing agreement program” and that it was, therefore, appropriate to terminate the process.
NSAC is heavily engaged in the FSMA rulemaking process and submitted comprehensive comments on FDA’s proposed produce safety regulations and proposed requirements for food processing facilities in mid-November. To stay informed about the FSMA rulemaking process, sign-up to receive FSMA updates.