SOURCE: Arizona Leafy Greens Food Safety Committee

Arizona Leafy Greens Food Safety Committee

November 09, 2011 14:34 ET

Arizona Leafy Greens Week Celebrates Impact of Lettuce on State's Economy

Gov. Jan Brewer Dedicates Nov. 13-19 in Honor of State's Bountiful Leafy Greens Harvest

PHOENIX, AZ--(Marketwire - Nov 9, 2011) - In recognition of the bountiful harvest generated by Arizona's abundant lettuce industry, Governor Jan Brewer has proclaimed Nov. 13-19, Arizona Leafy Greens Week.

"The continued viability of this industry is essential to Arizona's future and to citizens across the country who consume Arizona's leafy greens products," the proclamation states.

As the top producer of leafy greens during the winter months, Arizona's leafy greens industry employs more than 20,000 and generates an estimated $1 billion in financial impacts to the state's economy. Eighty-five percent of the leafy greens lettuce consumed in the United States and Canada between the months of November through March is generated from Arizona.

"This is an ideal time to reflect on the fertile ground that Arizona offers, the increased focus on healthy eating, the continued demand for leafy greens, and the safe practices that help the leafy greens industry thrive in Arizona," said Arizona Leafy Greens Food Safety Committee Chair C.R. Waters.

Members of the Arizona Leafy Greens Food Safety Committee, a volunteer consortium comprised of 96 percent of Arizona's shippers and growers, work collaboratively to ensure uniform safe food handling practices are employed throughout the industry. The group came together in 2007 to represent various leafy greens products grown in Arizona, demonstrating their commitment to maintain safety of lettuces grown in Arizona from field to fork.

"This industry puts food on our tables -- both literally and figuratively," Waters said.

Those that are members of Arizona's Leafy Greens consortium agree to a rigorous set of standards and practices. Shippers and growers are subject to regular inspections by USDA certified auditors. The Arizona Leafy Greens Food Safety Committee can impose sanctions on those who are out of compliance.

"It's important to protect this industry not only because of what it contributes to Arizona's economy, but because it's what we're feeding our own families," Waters said.

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