Summary of Awards to Date

Using Leafy Green Marketing Agreement audit data to determine non-compliance areas and preparation of training and recommendations for improvements in future growing seasons.

Date

Nov. 1, 2009 - Jun. 30, 2012

Award Number

2009-84

Funding Agency

Center for Produce Safety

Amount Awarded

$133,540.00

Investigator

Diane Wetherington
IDS (Intertox Decision Sciences)

Co-Investigator(s)

G. Bruce, S. Leaman

Summary

Layman's (Executive) Summary of Proposal

The purpose of the Intertox Leafy Greens Marketing Agreement (LGMA) Audit Data Evaluation Proposal is to use data collected by the California Department of Food and Agriculture (CDFA) during audits of lettuce and leafy greens producers to determine if there are more efficient and effective methods for preventing the microbial contamination of these crops. This proposal consists of four elements: the collaboration with CDFA and the LGMA Advisory Board to obtain confidential audit data for analysis; the statistical analysis of the data for trends and compliance issues; the preparation of training tools and training sessions for growers, and; recommendations to LGMA for any changes in best practices and/or the audit document. The overall objective of the proposal is to reduce audit compliance costs for producers while making leafy greens safer (and less expensive) for the consumer.

 

Technical Abstract

The purpose of the Intertox Leafy Greens Marketing Agreement (LGMA) Audit Data Evaluation Proposal is to use data collected by the California Department of Food and Agriculture (CDFA) during audits of lettuce and leafy greens producers to determine if there are more efficient and effective methods for preventing the microbial contamination of these crops. This proposal consists of four elements: the collaboration with CDFA and the LGMA Advisory Board to obtain confidential audit data for analysis; the statistical analysis of the data for trends and compliance issues; the preparation of training tools and training sessions for growers, and; recommendations to LGMA for any changes in best practices and/or the audit document. For LGMA grower cooperation, it is imperative that the data collected during audits and provided to Intertox contain only regional geographic identifiers. Once the data has been shared with Intertox, a variety of statistical tools will be used to determine trends and if those trends are in compliance with the LGMA best practices by region or other categorical data. The results of this analysis will be used to develop training materials that will be implemented in growing region-specific LGMA/CDFA sponsored workshops. After completion of the training sessions, Intertox will provide recommendations to LGMA and CDFA for changes to the best practices and audit methodology as appropriate. This project will enhance the competitiveness of California specialty crops by improving existing best practices and removing unnecessary or ineffective practices in an effort to streamline the audit process. It will also benefit consumers by providing more information about the efforts underway to continually ensure the safety of specialty crops.