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September 22, 2020

Imminent FDA Inspections for Certain Leafy Greens Operations

Earlier this year, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) released their 2020 Leafy Greens STEC Action Plan. The plan outlines steps to advance the safety of fresh leafy greens in response to recurring foodborne outbreaks of Shiga toxin-producing E. coli (STEC) infections with a confirmed or suspected link to leafy greens.

To support its prevention-oriented approach to produce safety, FDA is planning to conduct inspections to test samples of romaine lettuce beginning the week of September 20. Leafy greens operations in both California and Arizona should be prepared for potential inspections during the transition period.

FDA’s surveillance work is expected to be comprehensive and early indications are that the focus will be on sampling for E. coli 0157:H7 strains associated with leafy green outbreaks. It is expected that environmental samples of water, soil, leafy greens products being harvested at the time of inspection, as well as samples of soil and water from adjacent lands, will be taken. Inspections are likely to last a week.

We will share any additional information as it becomes available. In the meantime, be sure to review WG’s Food Inspection Manual for guidance on handling food inspections at your facility and information regarding your company’s rights and an inspector’s legal authority during a food inspection.

Contact Sonia Salas at [email protected] for additional questions.