U.S. Secretary of Agriculture Sonny Perdue announced yesterday that many Farm Service Agency (FSA) offices will temporarily reopen amidst the government shutdown to perform limited services for farmers and ranchers. The following FSA offices will open for Farm Loan Program Services on January 17, 18 and 22 from 8:00 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.:        

Bakersfield Service Center

5080 California Ave, Suite 150, Bakersfield, CA

(661) 336-0967

Merced Service Center

Chardae Heim

On January 9, 2019, the United States Food and Drug Administration (FDA) along with the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) provided an update related to the recent outbreak of E.coli 0157:H7 infections linked to romaine lettuce. CDC declared that this outbreak appears to be over. FDA recommends suppliers and distributors to continue labeling romaine lettuce with its harvest location and date or label as hydroponically- or greenhouse-grown. According to the FDA and the CDC, the recent romaine lettuce E.

Sonia Salas

In light of the FDA Food Safety Modernization Act (FSMA) rules and provisions being in effect, Western Growers is providing additional training to help the produce industry stay in compliance.

The FDA’s Preventive Controls for Human Food rule requires that certain activities must be completed or overseen by a “preventive controls qualified individual.” The Food Safety Preventive Controls Alliance (FSPCA) Preventive Controls for Human Food Course is one way to meet this requirement. This course is recognized by the FDA as the standardized curriculum.

Sonia Salas

As we reported here, the National Council of Agricultural Employers (NCAE), which Western Growers serves on their Executive Committee, has sued the U.S. Department of Labor (DOL) to stop unsustainable increases in the minimum wage for H-2A visa foreign guestworkers, known at the Adverse Effect Wage Rate (ARWR).  The 2019 AEWR rates are now in effect unless rescinded by court order or other action.

Jason Resnick

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