Inconsistent food safety pressures complicate environmental conservation for California produce growers

California Agriculture
Baur, Patrick; Driscoll, Laura; Gennet, Sasha; Karp, Daniel
PublisherUniversity of California
SourceWeb of Science
Volume / Issue70 / 3
Pages142 - 151
Total Pages9 pages
Article Link
Editor(s) N/A
Conference / Book Title N/A
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Tagsagricultural management, California, farms, food safety; agriculture
Other N/A
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Conference Date N/A
Publication DateAugust 01, 2016
Article Date N/A
GS Citation N/A
AbstractControlling human pathogens on fresh vegetables, fruits and nuts is imperative for California growers. A range of rules and guidelines have been developed since 2006, when a widespread outbreak of E. coli O157:H7 was linked to bagged spinach grown in California. Growers face pressure from industry and government sources to adopt specific control measures on their farms, resulting in a complex, shifting set of demands, some of which conflict with environmental stewardship. We surveyed 588 California produce growers about on-farm practices related to food safety and conservation. Nearly all respondents considered both food safety and environmental protection to be important responsibilities for their farms. Responses indicate that clearing vegetation to create buffers around cropped fields, removing vegetation from ditches and ponds, and using poison bait and wildlife fences are commonly used practices intended to reduce wildlife movements onto farm fields. The survey also revealed that on-farm practices vary substantially even among farms with similar characteristics. This variability suggests inconsistencies in food safety requirements, auditorsÍ interpretations or growersÍ perception of the demands of their buyers. Although site-specific considerations are important and practices should be tailored to local conditions, our findings suggest growers, natural resources and food safety would benefit from clearer, more consistent requirements.
Created: 12/14/2017 10:30 AM (ET)
Modified: 1/3/2019 4:04 PM (ET)
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