State Senator Galgiani Welcomes Food Safety Input

Proposed federal rules on food safety are a "one-size-fits-all" approach, which, in some cases,  are "excessive and unnecessary" and could pose "undue hardships" on growers, while not guaranteeing against bacterial outbreaks.

A panel of industry representatives shared their opinions yesterday at a Stockton City Hall informational hearing with State Senator Cathleen Galgiani, D-Stockton, chairwoman of the Senate Committee on Agriculture.

Sen. Galgiani was seeking input from industry members about proposed FSMA produce safety rules, which are still being tweaked and will not take effect until at least 2015.   

Food safety experts, the director of inspection services for the California Department of Food and Agriculture, and representatives for growers whose crops range from citrus fruits to almonds were among Monday's speakers.

Much of the concern expressed at the meeting was over a proposed rule requiring growers to conduct weekly bacteria testing of surface water.

"A weekly water test is excessive and unnecessary," said Scott Horsfall, head of the California Leafy Green Marketing Agreement. He said water tests are expensive and would not result in increased food safety. “We require a monthly water test. The water used in California is very, very clean. We're not going to move the needle (on food safety) by requiring a weekly test."

"With the diversity of California agriculture comes a complexity that, in my opinion, people in the rest of the country cannot comprehend," said Jamie Johansson of the California Farm Bureau Federation, the harshest critic of the proposed rules. He called them a "broad overreach of executive power" and called for  simplification of the rules and review by farmers.

Western United Dairymen,
Stockton Record,
California State Senator Christeen Galgiani’s website:

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