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
(Photo credit: NOAA)
Fruits
July 30, 2016
Don’t Worry About What You Can’t Control [Opinion]
Wacky weather has kept you on your toes this year, but there’s no sense in trying to prevent the unpreventable. Read More
Salty soil in California
Fruits
July 30, 2016
Drought Parches Eastern Parts Of U.S.
Conditions worsen in Massachusetts and New York. Read More
(Photo credit: Wikimedia Commons)
Farm Management
July 29, 2016
Obama Signs GMO Labeling Law
The law is praised by major grower groups because it avoids a patchwork of state laws and provides clarity going forward. Read More
Dust Demo - Feature
Nuts
July 29, 2016
Don’t Bite The Dust In Your Almond Orchard
Being smart about little things, such as occasionally slowing down during almond harvest, can go a long way toward improving public perception – not to mention keeping regulators off your back. Read More
image1 - feature
Nuts
July 28, 2016
Tips For Late-Planting Potted Trees
Historically, the establishment of deciduous orchards was typified by planting bare-rooted trees during dormancy. With the advent of technology and Read More
Cannabis plant closeup
Citrus
July 28, 2016
Florida’s Medicinal Cannabis Venture Officially Open For Business
The state’s first dispensary of product comes online in Tallahassee, others waiting for the green light. Read More
Andrew (left) and Steve Beilstein use an air dancer, pictured in the background, as a bird-scaring device at The Blueberry Patch in Lexington, OH.  (Photo credit: Gary Gao)
Berries
July 27, 2016
Bird Damage Plagues Most Fruit Growers
There’s no silver bullet, but here are several techniques to annoy and deter birds. Read More
precision ag vision conference
Citrus
July 27, 2016
Ag Tech Is Hot On Horticulture; Get A Handle On What This Means For You
As evidenced by the recent AgTech Summit hosted by Forbes magazine in Salinas, CA, action in precision farming and the Read More
These wildflowers, planted near a California almond orchard, can be extremely effective in aiding pollinators. (Photo credit: Katharina Ullmann, Xerces Society)
Production
July 27, 2016
Survey: Fruit And Vegetable Growers Support Pollinators
Most of the berry, almond, melon, pumpkin, and tree fruit growers surveyed are being careful about how they manage their farms to minimize pesticide impacts and improve bees’ habitats. Read More
The Latest
Fruits
July 30, 2016
Don’t Worry About What You Can’t Control…
Wacky weather has kept you on your toes this year, but there’s no sense in trying to prevent the unpreventable. Read More
Fruits
July 30, 2016
Drought Parches Eastern Parts Of U.S.
Conditions worsen in Massachusetts and New York. Read More
Farm Management
July 29, 2016
Obama Signs GMO Labeling Law
The law is praised by major grower groups because it avoids a patchwork of state laws and provides clarity going forward. Read More
Nuts
July 29, 2016
Don’t Bite The Dust In Your Almond Orcha…
Being smart about little things, such as occasionally slowing down during almond harvest, can go a long way toward improving public perception – not to mention keeping regulators off your back. Read More
Nuts
July 28, 2016
Tips For Late-Planting Potted Trees
Historically, the establishment of deciduous orchards was typified by planting bare-rooted trees during dormancy. With the advent of technology and Read More
Citrus
July 28, 2016
Florida’s Medicinal Cannabis Venture Off…
The state’s first dispensary of product comes online in Tallahassee, others waiting for the green light. Read More
Apples & Pears
July 28, 2016
Seeing The Real Big Apple On The Nation’…
Hot temperatures, lack of precipitation, mechanization, and high density production systems were among the highlights of the International Fruit Tree Association’s annual study tour. Read More
Berries
July 27, 2016
Bird Damage Plagues Most Fruit Growers
There’s no silver bullet, but here are several techniques to annoy and deter birds. Read More
Citrus
July 27, 2016
Ag Tech Is Hot On Horticulture; Get A Ha…
As evidenced by the recent AgTech Summit hosted by Forbes magazine in Salinas, CA, action in precision farming and the Read More
Production
July 27, 2016
Survey: Fruit And Vegetable Growers Supp…
Most of the berry, almond, melon, pumpkin, and tree fruit growers surveyed are being careful about how they manage their farms to minimize pesticide impacts and improve bees’ habitats. Read More
Potatoes
July 27, 2016
Hail Hammers Potato Crops In North Dakot…
Storms have wreaked havoc on crops in the Peace Garden State. Read More
Citrus
July 27, 2016
Stockholders OK Dow, DuPont Merger
Companies intend to separate into three, independent companies. Read More
Stone Fruit
July 26, 2016
Take A Closer Look At The Tall Spindle A…
One of the more traditional three-dimensional canopies, Tall Spindle Axe data shows consistent early and sustained yields. Read More
Berries
July 26, 2016
Wish Farms Commits $100K To Food Safety …
Central Florida berry operation will donate $20,000 annually over the next five years to fund various research projects backed by the Center for Produce Safety. Read More
Fruits
July 26, 2016
Popular Spanish-Speaking Fruit Summer To…
Second-annual tour designed to educate Spanish-speaking employees or farmworkers on fruit growing practices. Read More
Apples & Pears
July 26, 2016
Walmart Begins Selling So-Called ‘…
Cosmetically challenged apples are the company’s first foray into a global movement to cut food waste. Read More
Production
July 26, 2016
Importing Frozen Honeybee Sperm Is Key T…
The Washington State University (WSU) bee program has worked with researchers from around the world to create more honeybee genetic repositories like the one at WSU. Read More
GenNext Growers
July 26, 2016
Tour Dedicated To Next Generation Tree F…
Newly formed Next Generation Tree Fruit Alliance to tour orchards, network. Read More
[gravityform id="62" title="false" description="false"]