National leafy greens agreement ended by USDA

A proposed national leafy greens marketing agreement has been terminated by USDA, the department announced Dec. 5. The national agreement was first proposed in 2009 by industry groups and had been in the regulatory pipeline since then.

The official termination notice was published in the Federal Register.

“Termination of the proceeding will allow USDA to discuss recent developments with interested parties, and consider the evolving needs of the industry and consumers,” said a statement on the USDA Agricultural Marketing Service website. “USDA has determined that recent developments, including the FDA publication of proposed rules under the Food Safety Modernization Act, could affect fundamental aspects of the proposed marketing agreement.”

The program, as proposed by the leafy greens industry, would have regulated the handling of cabbage, lettuce, spinach and other vegetables defined as leafy greens marketed in the United States.

The national agreement was intended to be a voluntary agreement that would have set up a uniform, science-based food quality program, including a set of good management practices (GMPs) for all operations.

Two existing state leafy green marketing agreements, serving California and Arizona, are not affected by the USDA’s decision.

Originally posted Thursday, Dec. 5, 2013

Tags: fda, food safety, fsma, usda