OOIDA issues Call to Action in California regarding 'leafy greens'

| 1/8/2007

If you haul produce in or out of California, you may want to make plans to attend a public hearing regarding the implementation of a proposed California Leafy Green Products Handler Marketing Agreement.

The public hearing to gauge support for the growers’ proposal is scheduled for 10 a.m. Friday, Jan. 12, at the Monterey County Fairgrounds in Monterey, CA.

OOIDA has submitted comments to the California Department of Food & Agriculture as part of the public hearing process. The proposed rules stem from the national publicity related to the E. coli outbreak in September 2006, which left more than 200 sickened and three dead from eating contaminated spinach.

Some of the country’s largest retailers issued a letter to California growers in October 2006 demanding stricter food safety practices to boost consumer confidence in leafy greens. The Western Growers Association, a trade organization that represents California growers, is one of the leading sponsors of the proposal to establish new food safety standards for leafy green vegetables.

OOIDA Regulatory Affairs Specialist Joe Rajkovacz said the proposed agreement could impose additional requirements from shippers upon produce haulers’ operations and that the CDFA doesn’t understand the importance of having truckers’ interests represented in drafting a viable marketing agreement.

“There is a missing link in the food chain as it relates to food safety, and the CDFA doesn’t get that truckers who haul the produce from the growers to the retailers need a place at the table to help develop safer food practices in all aspects of the food supply chain,” he said. “The CDFA and the Western Growers Association need to hear the insights and concerns of produce haulers and OOIDA members.”

You can read OOIDA’s comments of the proposed Marketing Agreement by visiting http://www.landlinemag.com/Legislative_Watch/2007/CA/Action_Alerts/call2actCA1_07.pdf

If you plan on attending the hearing or would like further information, please contact Joe Rajkovacz at 1-800-444-5791.

– By Clarissa Kell-Holland, staff writer