The Arizona and California Leafy Greens Marketing Association (LGMA) recently made available a new food safety tool to help growers and shippers assess risk in the crop production environment. The tool can be accessed through the Arizona LGMA and California LGMA websites.
The risk assessment tool considers various risks, both on the ranch that the farmer controls and on land adjacent to the crop production area. Arizona and California LGMA collaborated on the risk assessment tool with the goal of providing its food safety professionals with the resources required to be effective and efficient in monitoring field conditions and adjacent land hazards.
LGMA has always required its members to conduct an environmental risk assessment, and the new tool incorporates LGMA requirements and standardizes the way that each member addresses specific hazards. After completing the assessment, the user will get a risk score and see what impact specific mitigation measures can have on the safety of their crops.
The Environmental Risk Assessment Tool is currently formatted as an Excel spreadsheet. The tool requires the user to look at the following adjacent land uses and hazards (also known as Table 0 in the LGMA metrics):
- Animal Operations
- Compost/Soil Amendment Operations
- Non-leafy green crops
- Water Source and Systems
- Urban Settings
- Other Environmental Considerations.
After hazards and risk considerations are entered by the user, the tool will assign a risk result rating. The user will then enter mitigations that were taken at the farm level to address the potential hazard prior to planting. Based on the mitigations entered, the tool will adjust the risk rating based on pre-assigned mitigation values. Mitigation values are assigned in the tool depending on the impact those mitigations have on lowering the risks to the field.