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Angela Cortez's Blog

USDA issues its public hearing schedule on leafy green guidelines

Public hearings are scheduled from Sept. 22 to Oct. 22 to allow people an opportunity to comment on a proposed national marketing agreement covering the handling of leafy green vegetables. Make your voice heard.

Hearings will be in seven locations between September 22 and October 22, 2009. The hearings provide the public an opportunity to learn more about the proposed agreement and to offer comments in support of or opposition to the agreement. The hearings will be held at the following locations from 8:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. (local time) or as determined by the presiding administrative law judge:

Sept. 22-24, at the Hyatt Regency Monterey, 1 Old Golf Course Road, Monterey, Calif.

Sept. 30 to Oct. 1, at the Wyndham Jacksonville Riverwalk, 1515 Prudential Drive, Jacksonville, Fla.

Oct. 6, at the Greater Columbus Convention Center, Room D130, 400 North High Street, Columbus, Ohio.

Oct. 8, at the Denver Airport Marriott at Gateway Park, 16455 East 40th Circle, Aurora, Colo.

Oct. 14-15, at the Yuma Civic Center, Yuma Room, 1440 Desert Hills Drive, Yuma, Ariz.

Oct. 20, at the Renaissance Syracuse Hotel, 701 East Genesee Street, Syracuse, N.Y.

Oct. 22, at the Charlotte Marriot Executive Park, 5700 Westpark Drive, Charlotte, N.C.

A copy of the proposal is also available on the home page of the Agricultural Marketing Service’s Web site, or from Antoinette Carter, Marketing Order Administration Branch, Fruit and Vegetable Programs, AMS, USDA, 1400 Independence Avenue SW, Stop 0237, Washington, D.C. 20250-0237, phone: 202-720-2491, or fax: 202-720-8938; or Melissa Schmaedick, Marketing Order Administration Branch, Fruit and Vegetable Programs, Northwest Marketing Field Office, AMS, USDA, 1220 SW Third Avenue, Room 385, Portland, Ore. 97204; phone: 503-326-2724, or fax: 503-326-7440.

The USDA said a cross-section of producers and handlers from the fresh-produce industry proposed the establishment of a marketing agreement to facilitate the practical application of Good Agricultural Practices, Good Handling Practices, and Good Manufacturing Practices guidelines published by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration. If established, only handlers who sign on to the marketing agreement would be subject to the requirements of the accord. Signatory handlers could only handle leafy green vegetables (domestic or imported) that meet the requirements of the program.

The USDA will produce a video of the Sept. 22-24 hearing sessions and will make it available for viewing beginning Sept. 23 at

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