The USDA has terminated the proposed proceeding to establish a national Leafy Greens Marketing Agreement (LGMA). Under the agreement, any individual state program would have had oversight from the USDA and FDA and would have been funded through grower contributions. The formal termination announcement was made in the Federal Register published on December 5. As a reason for terminating the proposal, the notice stated that the FDA’s ongoing rulemaking under the Food Safety Modernization Act may affect the “fundamental aspects” of the proposed marketing agreement. Termination of the proceeding removes the ex parte communication prohibitions which will allow USDA the ability to fully engage with “all interested parties to discuss and consider the evolving needs of the industry and consumers going forward.”
Western Growers, while not happy with the entire proposal, saw value in its pursuit as a means of developing a path to compliance with FSMA. WG president and CEO, Tom Nassif issued a statement saying, “Western Growers is extremely disappointed with USDA’s termination of the proposed National Marketing Agreement for Leafy Greens. After working successfully in California and Arizona to create marketing agreements that would voluntarily engage producers in self-funded food safety regulatory programs we hoped that the model could be advanced on a national level. The FSMA and its companion rules are being strenuously fought by many of the same organizations and entities that objected to the NLGMA. It is time to stop saying NO to food safety on the farm and engage in the development of preventative programs at all levels.”
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