Canadian romaine requirement for E. coli testing could be a costly precedent

The Packer reports that the new Canadian food safety import rule imposed on US romaine lettuce is estimated a drop of $11 million to $13 million in trade a week, and the mandate to test Salinas Valley romaine for E. coli add to costs for California shippers. Even more concerning, industry leaders say, is the precedent the testing mandate will have on future trade between the countries. The Canadian Produce Marketing Association (CPMA) is working with the authorities to mitigate the new regulations' impact. A task force is being created to review the CFIA requirements for romaine imports from the US. The task force will also provide suggestions back to CFIA on making the procedure workable for the industry. California LGMA is hoping for a change in the rule. One of the industry concerns is that Canadian action could be a precedent that might be used for other commodities. LGMA believes that Canada's post-harvest E. coli testing requirement hasn't proven to be an effective way to protect consumers in the past. Currently, LGMA said that for October and November, shipments aren't going to go to Canada. @

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