Arizona Sets New Lettuce Growing Standards

After the E. coli outbreak earlier this year, Arizona lettuce growers will have to meet a certain standard.

Romaine Lettuce

Lettuce season is just starting to begin in Yuma, Arizona, but after the deadly E. coli outbreak linked to the city's produce, growers will have to follow new food safety standards.

According to The Packer, the Arizona Leafy Greens Marketing Agreement has updated safety metrics like more rigorous risk assessments on intense weather conditions, added measures for leafy greens grown near concentrated animal feeding operations (CAFO), more requirements on cleaning/sanitizing harvest equipment and stronger traceback requirements.

The measure focusing on CAFO is new to the lettuce growers and is taking place after the FDA found the E. coli strain in romaine in an irrigation canal that ran through land used for a cattle feedlot. According to The Packer, the rule will have a buffer zone between CAFOs and leafy green crops, and more rigorous risk assessments will be used for fields near CAFOs. 

Traceability will become a major factor for Yuma's lettuce. Identification of all lot data will be required and collected by firms to ensures that a potential gap in traceability won't come from a grower in the community.