Mexico announced it will once again allow imports of California spinach, but is requiring that any imported spinach products must by grown and shipped by member-companies of the California Leafy Greens Marketing Agreement (LGMA). Mexico's Federal Commission for the Protection against Sanitary Risks (COFEPRIS) announced the import requirements late in November. Canada issued similar import requirements earlier in 2007.
The California LGMA was established in 2007 and operates with oversight from the California Department of Food and Agriculture. This newly formed agency verifies, through government audits, that farmers follow enhanced food safety standards for lettuce, spinach, and other leafy greens. Handlers, which include farmers, shippers, and processors, have demonstrated willingness to follow the new standards by voluntarily signing onto the marketing agreement. Once the marketing agreement is signed, it becomes mandatory for those handlers to purchase product solely from farmers who comply with the enhanced food safety standards.