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The Fresno Bee reports that “consumers buying California-grown lettuce and spinach could soon be able to check for a safety seal of approval under an industry-backed proposal being formulated in the wake of recent E. coli outbreaks.”

The best practices program – establishing voluntary rules for water and soil testing and increased washing of produce - would be paid for by charging packers and shippers up to five cents per carton of produce, and was “designed by the Western Growers Association and other trade groups, with the state Department of Food and Agriculture taking an advisory role.”

A draft proposal was circulated to appropriate companies last week. Legislation for a mandatory testing program is still in development.
KC's View:
If it is enforced without fear or favor, and is not influenced by anything other than the science, then voluntary always is better than mandatory. But we suspect that things may have gone too far in the food safety area to make a purely voluntary system acceptable to many consumers.