The Controlled Environment Agriculture Alliance’s highly anticipated food safety guidelines for leafy greens and herb production is now available for download, free of charge, on the organization’s website. Produced in cooperation with the International Fresh Produce Association (IFPA), this first edition collaborative best practices document, “Commodity Specific Food Safety Guidelines for Controlled Environment Agriculture,” focuses specifically on the production of leafy greens and herbs. The 57-page document provides thorough, in-depth guidance on CEA food safety issues ranging from worker health and hygiene, pest management and production inputs to packaging, storage, traceability and transport.
In announcing the release of the best practices document, CEA Alliance Executive Director Tom Stenzel emphasized the Alliance’s food safety origins and focus. “Since the CEA Alliance was formed in 2019 as the CEA Food Safety Coalition, ensuring the safety of indoor-grown produce has been at the center of our members’ focus,” Stenzel said. “At that time, the Alliance developed its own food safety standards before most third-party audits covered indoor-grown produce. “Since then, CEA production has become much more mainstream in the auditing world, so our members turned our attention to developing a detailed best-practice document to dig deeper into specific guidance that would be helpful to growers across the world.”
Monica Noble, CEA Alliance Board member and Director of Quality and Safety for CEA producer 80 Acres Farms, added, “We believe it’s important to share these best practices with all indoor growers, both established major companies and new start-ups. We’re making this resource free to support all companies that are growing or intend to grow leafy greens and herbs in greenhouses or vertical farms.”
This first edition commodity-specific food safety guide was developed under the guidance of more than 20 CEA Alliance Food Safety Working Group members. Editors of the document include Stenzel, Dr. Jennifer McEntire, founder of Food Safety Strategy and former Chief Food Safety and Regulatory Officer of IFPA, and Gretchen Wall, Director of Food Safety & Quality at IFPA. The document was also reviewed by external scientific reviewers including academic, governmental, industry affiliates and third-party auditors.
The CEA Alliance is a membership association representing and serving indoor vertical farms and high-tech greenhouse producers growing fruits and vegetables in a highly controlled indoor production environment. The International Fresh Produce Association is the largest and most diverse international association serving the entire fresh produce and floral supply chain.
The document is available for download here.
Image courtesy of CEA Alliance.