Food safety leaders explained how the produce industry has learned and evolved in the effort to provide safer products to consumers.
During an International Fresh Produce Association BB #:378962 webinar November 9, speakers said the industry’s change was significant since 2018, which saw several food safety outbreaks.
Greg Komar, technical director for the California LGMA BB #:210653, said 2018 was a tough year for food safety, but it brought needed changes.
“It spurred us to look at food safety standard changes,” he said. “Since then, we’ve taken a new approach to ag water standards, sanitation practices and metrics.”
Tim York, CEO of LGMA, said his group’s goal is to continually evolve food safety standards and the audit process; engage buyers and government agencies; and build public confidence.
He said LGMA holds members to high standards, and when they are not met, it sometimes has to decertify them.
De Ann Davis, senior vice president of science for Western Growers BB #:144734 said growers have a new data sharing platform called GreenLink, which became available last year.
“It gives [growers] the ability to look at your food safety performance data,” she said.
She said it gives growers quantitative and qualitative data and gives them an aggregate dashboard to share data and see others’ data, noting that all the users’ individual data remains anonymous.
While the dashboard is still in its early phases, Davis said, it will soon give growers the ability to do predictive modeling and use artificial intelligence to control risk factors.
“This allows us to think about food safety in a different way,” she said. “It’s much more precise.”