At the heart of the LGMA program is the mandatory audit program that certifies member companies are implementing food safety practices developed by university and industry scientists, food safety experts, farmers, shippers and processors. These food safety practices were also reviewed by state and federal government health agencies. (The food safety practices can be found on this website in the resources section). This set of food safety practices has been accepted by the LGMA and all LGMA member companies are subject to mandatory government audits on a regular, but random basis to ensure that the LGMA-accepted food safety practices are being implemented. The food safety practices cover five key areas:
Member companies are required to have a complete food safety compliance plan, an up-to-date list of growers, and a written traceback program.
Pre-season and pre-harvest assessments are required to make sure conditions that can affect food safety, such as animal intrusions, flooding, proximity to animal feeding operations, etc. are not present, or have been properly mitigated.
Extensive testing and record keeping for all sources of water used in the production of leafy greens is required by the program.
Extensive testing, certification and record keeping for soil amendments, including compost and fertilizers, are required by the program.
Field audits verify that farmers are in compliance with the program’s requirements in the areas of worker practices and field sanitation.
All LGMA member companies are subject to mandatory government audits to ensure that the LGMA-accepted practices are being implemented. The audits are conducted by California Department of Food and Agriculture inspectors who received special training and certification from the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) under the auspices of the National Good Agricultural Practices Program practices. The National Good Agricultural Practices Program was jointly developed by the USDA and the Federal Food and Drug Administration. LGMA member companies are audited by the certified government inspectors at least four times per year and each grower for that member is audited at least once a year.