The San Jose Mercury News reports that Californians shouldn’t be surprised that the federal Food and Drug Administration is essentially abdicating its responsibility to help ensure the safety of fresh produce, most of which is grown in the Central Valley.
In fact, it’s hard to decide which is the worst part about the new guidelines offered Monday by the FDA: That they took seven years to develop or that they are non-binding, meaning food processors can simply choose to ignore them.
Now it’s up to the state to maintain consumer confidence in the safety of its leafy green vegetables, like lettuce and spinach. Quality greens are important for consumer health and are a vital part of the state’s economy.
The state should complete its plans by summer to impose mandatory controls on growers. The food industry should work with the Legislature to guarantee that a set of enforceable standards is in place that will guarantee that every food handler in the business complies.