Unlike the California leafy greens industry, which introduced a marketing agreement to avoid legislation and regulations over food safety issues, the Florida tomato industry is asking to be regulated, according to an article in the Palm Beach Post:
But in what could be the first successful move to establish enforceable standards, the Florida tomato-growing industry is asking the state legislature for regulation.
"We want mandatory inspections to bring everybody that handles tomatoes in the state in the loop to comply with food safety," said Tony DiMare, vice president of Homestead-based DiMare companies, one of the state’s largest tomato growers. "We wanted to take a proactive approach and stay ahead of the curve."
A bill in the legislature backed by growers would require food-safety inspections of all tomato fields, greenhouses and packinghouses. They hope the bill becomes law and takes effect before the fall planting season.
"We wanted to ensure tomatoes are being handled in the most efficient food-safety program we know how to build," said Reggie Brown, manager of the Mait-land-based Florida Tomato Committee and executive vice president of the Florida Tomato Exchange. "We don’t have a choice but to step forward."