We Saved the Salad Greens!
UPDATE: May 11, 2012
Two weeks ago we launched an urgent grassroots campaign to prevent small NC farms from losing restaurants as a customer for lettuces, spinach and other leafy greens. Hundreds of people called, wrote and attended public meetings, and NC government heard us loud and clear. CFSA is pleased to announce that the state has changed its policy, and will not impose industrial-scale food safety rules on small farms selling direct to restaurants. Thanks to you, we saved the salad greens!
Salad mixes, lettuces, arugula, spinach, chard, kale, and other leafy greens are important crops for hundreds of small NC sustainable farms, and restaurants are an important customer for those crops. NC’s Dept. of Health and Human Services (DHHS) proposed Food Code had threatened to cut most small farms off from the restaurant market for these leafy greens crops, because it treated raw leafy greens cut from farmers’ fields as a ‘hazardous food.’ The Food Code requires hazardous foods to be delivered to restaurants at a temperature of 41 degrees F. Small farms work hard to keep leafy greens cool for delivery to customers, but can’t afford the expensive equipment necessary to deliver at that low temperature.
Thanks to massive public outcry, DHHS has reevaluated its hazardous food definition, and has recognized that the act of harvesting leafy greens is not a threat to public health. They published this letter announcing their interpretation yesterday.
Now our local farms can continue to provide restaurants with the freshest, healthiest, most delicious leafy greens available. Farmers keep customers, restaurants keep quality ingredients, and our local, organic food community keeps getting stronger. CFSA is proud to have led this successful fight, and we thank you for taking action and for saving the salad greens.