Rep. Panetta Secures End to Detrimental Food Safety Testing Procedures from the Canadian Food Inspection Agency

September 9, 2021
Press Release

SALINAS, CA – Today, Representative Jimmy Panetta (D-Carmel Valley) announced that the Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA) will allow pre-harvest testing on romaine lettuce from the Salinas Valley, a substantial improvement from a 2020 requirement for finished-product testing. The updated testing procedures will ensure safe, healthy product can once again move across our border to feed communities around the world.

“Last year, Canada’s food safety testing procedures were announced and implemented tumultuously, resulting in the loss of safe, healthy product from the Salinas Valley,” said Rep. Jimmy Panetta. “Since then, I have worked closely with USTR, FDA, and UDSA leadership, along with the California Leafy Green Marketing Agreement, to ensure we put forward a stronger, more efficient system. I am glad that, after months of collaboration, the Canadian Food Inspection Agency has worked with LGMA and our California growers to improve the testing process and ensure Salinas Valley leafy greens can travel across our borders to feed communities around the world.”

Over the past year, Congressman Panetta worked closely with leadership at the Office of the United States Trade Representative (USTR), the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), and the Department of Agriculture (USDA) to ensure our federal agencies understood the immense burden placed on the Central Coast agriculture industry as a result of Canada’s original testing procedures on romaine lettuce.  He stressed that those testing procedures were not based on a current outbreak and amounted to a non-tariff barrier, violating the spirit of the United States-Mexico-Canada-Agreement (USMCA)

Thanks to the Congressman’s involvement, along with months of work between the CFIA, the California Leafy Green Marketing Agreement (LGMA), and other key leafy green stakeholders, the CFIA has now amended its testing procedures for the 2021 growing season to allow pre-harvest testing. The CFIA will implement these updated testing procedures on September 30, 2021, and they will remain in place until the end of the calendar year.