Growers’ Food Safety Costs Doubled

Seasonal food-safety costs for California leafy greens growers more than doubled in the year after the September 2006 outbreak of E. coli in spinach, according to a survey released Monday by the University of California Small Farm Program. On a per-acre basis, these costs were lowest for the largest farms.

Information from the survey will be presented at hearings in consideration of a national leafy greens food-safety program, to be held by the USDA beginning today in Monterey.

The UC Small Farm Program survey is the first to ask leafy greens growers specifically about food-safety costs after the implementation of the California Leafy Green Products Handler Marketing Agreement (LGMA).

The LGMA was created in 2007 as a response to the 2006 E. coli 0157:H7 spinach outbreak. The marketing agreement is a voluntary program for California handlers of lettuce, spinach and other leafy greens. Farmers who want to sell their leafy greens to LGMA handlers must also comply with LGMA food-safety provisions. An estimated 99% of leafy greens sold in California are covered under the LGMA requirements.

Many small-scale leafy greens growers who only sell directly to consumers, chefs and independent grocers are not subject to the LGMA.

In the survey, growers reported their seasonal food-safety costs increased 127%, from an average of $24.04 per acre to $54.63 per acre. Because it appears that growers may have ignored some costs when responding to the survey – e.g., some labor costs and owner’s time – the combined real costs of seasonal and one-time food safety improvements could exceed $100 per acre.

The survey also found that costs per acre were consistently lowest for the largest-sized growers with revenues over $10 million, who were also more likely to hire food safety specialists to manage their farms’ compliance.

"In California, we see that smaller farms are at a cost disadvantage under LGMA to the largest leafy greens growers – specifically those that have annual revenues over $10 million," said Shermain Hardesty, director of the UC Small Farm Program and co-author of the study.

To view the full study, visit http://ucanr.org/sfp/leafy-greens.

Leave a Reply

Featured Stories
sprayer applying bactericides to citrus trees
Insect & Disease Update
December 5, 2016
Best Practices For Bactericides Key To Vetting Citrus Solution
Approval finally cleared for antimicrobial applications, and now growers wait and hope to see positive results. Read More
Low-volume overhead irrigation system at Jones Potato Farm
Citrus
December 5, 2016
South Florida Endures Driest November On Record
Region has not experienced any significant rainfall since Hurricane Matthew. Read More
Meadowlark, a University of Florida release, is a popular Southern U.S. variety with machine-harvest characteristics and early ripening. The very large berries offer excellent firmness and flavor. Requires a pollinator. Fall Creek is licensed to sell Meadowlark in the U.S.
Fruits
December 5, 2016
Fall Creek Nursery 2017 Variety Showcase [Slideshow]
For information about these varieties, contact Fall Creek Nursery: Fall Creek Nursery 39318 Jasper Lowell Road Lowell, OR 97452 800-538-30015 [email protected] Read More
Chandra Roberts and Randy Dodds of Brandt Consolidated
Fruits
December 5, 2016
Team Coverage: Fruit And Nut Industry Conferences
Can’t make it to the biggest fruit and vegetable conferences? No sweat, we’ll take you there. Read More
sv3255-pb-fruit-4
Vegetables
December 4, 2016
Rispens Seeds 2016 Vegetable Variety Showcase
For more information, contact Rispens Seeds: 1357 Dutch American Way, P.O. Box 310, Beecher, IL 60401 708-946-6560; WEBSITE RispensSeeds.com FAX Read More
Young Grower Alliance members survey some of the plantings in the peach architecture research block at USDA's Appalachian Fruit Research Laboratory in Kearneysville, WV. (Photo credit: Christina Herrick)
GenNext Growers
December 4, 2016
New Loans Available For Small, Beginning, Urban Growers
USDA recently announced streamlined guaranteed Loans and additional lender category for small-scale operators. Read More
Microscope research
Crop Protection
December 4, 2016
Bio Huma Netics Opens New Lab Facility
Facility to improve quality control and help expand product line. Read More
dynasty-dsc_2035
Vegetables
December 4, 2016
Outstanding Seed Company 2016 Vegetable Variety Showcase
For more information, contact Outstanding Seed Company, LLC: P.O. Box 202, Monaca, PA 15061 PHONE 877-248-4567; WEBSITE OutstandingSeed.com FAX 724-775-1544 Read More
Terence Robinson makes some cuts to get the big fruiting wood off of Gerry Van Oostrum's tree. (Photo credit: Christina Herrick)
Apples & Pears
December 4, 2016
Easy Tips For Apple Pruning Demonstration Held In Pennsylvania
Seminar to be presented in both English and Spanish by Penn State University Extension experts. Read More
This variety has beautiful orange skin with hints of red, as well as strong durable flesh. The fruit is large in size and has exceptional shipping quality, accompanied by prominent flavor. It ripens between May 20 and June 5. USPP#27,189
Fruits
December 4, 2016
Dave Wilson Nursery 2017 Variety Showcase [Slideshow]
Dave Wilson Nursery in Hickman, CA, presents a new interspecific apricot, clingstone nectarine, red-speckled pluot, and more. Read More
The Latest
Insect & Disease Update
December 5, 2016
Best Practices For Bactericides Key To V…
Approval finally cleared for antimicrobial applications, and now growers wait and hope to see positive results. Read More
Citrus
December 5, 2016
South Florida Endures Driest November On…
Region has not experienced any significant rainfall since Hurricane Matthew. Read More
Fruits
December 5, 2016
Fall Creek Nursery 2017 Variety Showcase…
For information about these varieties, contact Fall Creek Nursery: Fall Creek Nursery 39318 Jasper Lowell Road Lowell, OR 97452 800-538-30015 [email protected] Read More
Fruits
December 5, 2016
Team Coverage: Fruit And Nut Industry Co…
Can’t make it to the biggest fruit and vegetable conferences? No sweat, we’ll take you there. Read More
Vegetables
December 4, 2016
Rispens Seeds 2016 Vegetable Variety Sho…
For more information, contact Rispens Seeds: 1357 Dutch American Way, P.O. Box 310, Beecher, IL 60401 708-946-6560; WEBSITE RispensSeeds.com FAX Read More
GenNext Growers
December 4, 2016
New Loans Available For Small, Beginning…
USDA recently announced streamlined guaranteed Loans and additional lender category for small-scale operators. Read More
Crop Protection
December 4, 2016
Bio Huma Netics Opens New Lab Facility
Facility to improve quality control and help expand product line. Read More
Vegetables
December 4, 2016
Outstanding Seed Company 2016 Vegetable …
For more information, contact Outstanding Seed Company, LLC: P.O. Box 202, Monaca, PA 15061 PHONE 877-248-4567; WEBSITE OutstandingSeed.com FAX 724-775-1544 Read More
Apples & Pears
December 4, 2016
Easy Tips For Apple Pruning Demonstratio…
Seminar to be presented in both English and Spanish by Penn State University Extension experts. Read More
Fruits
December 4, 2016
Dave Wilson Nursery 2017 Variety Showcas…
Dave Wilson Nursery in Hickman, CA, presents a new interspecific apricot, clingstone nectarine, red-speckled pluot, and more. Read More
Fruits
December 3, 2016
TOMRA Acquires Compac Sorting Machine Ma…
Transaction to be complete in first quarter of 2017. Read More
More Vegetables
December 3, 2016
Johnny’s Selected Seeds 2016 Veget…
For more information, contact Johnny’s Selected Seeds: 955 Benton Ave., Winslow, ME 04901 PHONE 877-564-6697; WEBSITE JohnnySeeds.com FAX 800-738-6314 Read More
Grapes
December 3, 2016
You Need To Have Flexibility In Your Vin…
Prioritization and compromise are sometimes necessary in a challenging growing environment. Read More
Fruits
December 3, 2016
C&O Nursery 2017 Variety Showcase [S…
C&O Nursery in Wenatchee, WA, offers a Jonagold sport, an early Fuji, and a Red Delicious sport. Read More
Apples & Pears
December 3, 2016
It’s A Global Celebration For World Pear…
USA Pears to host sampling events in 24 countries for 24 hours of continuous pear goodness. Read More
Grapes
December 2, 2016
Study Investigates Savings From Naturall…
After two years on the market, researchers ‘discuss cost-cutting benefits of ‘Sunpreme.' Read More
Grapes
December 2, 2016
Washington Wine Seminar Expands Format
Research-focused sessions to be held across state in conjunction with event in 2017. Read More
Apples & Pears
December 2, 2016
New Director Of Consumer Health And Med…
Organization announces Korenna Wilson to take on the role of raising consumers’ awareness of apples benefits. Read More