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Pundit’s Mailbag — Last Chance

March 31, 2007, is the final deadline for eligible handlers to sign up for the California Marketing Agreement for this year.

You can read about the marketing agreement here, and you can read the Good Agricultural Practice Metrics that the CMA board accepted here.

We believe in fighting the good fight, so while the GAP metrics were in draft form we fought for tougher standards. We didn’t win that battle this year, so we will fight on for next.

But these are mere details. Now that the terms have been set, the Marketing Agreement is the trade’s primary response to the E. coli 0157:H7 outbreaks of last year and we have to join together to make it a success.

We wish Fresh Express would relent and join as well. It would help the industry to have a united front — but nothing stops a Fresh Express grower from signing up regardless of what Fresh Express does.

If 100% of the growers sign up, then the fields are all open to inspection by the state and the product is all grown to CMA standards regardless of what processor the product is sold to.

It is not too late. But anyone sitting on the fence has to act now.

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