In recognition of the bountiful harvest generated by Arizona's abundant lettuce industry, Gov. Jan Brewer has proclaimed Nov. 13-19, Arizona Leafy Greens Week.

"The continued viability of this industry is essential to Arizona's future and to citizens across the country who consume Arizona's leafy greens products," the proclamation states.

As the top producer of leafy greens during the winter months, Arizona's leafy greens industry employs more than 20,000 and generates an estimated $1 billion in financial impacts to the state's economy. Eighty-five percent of the leafy greens lettuce consumed in the United States and Canada between the months of November through March is generated from Arizona.

Members of the Arizona Leafy Greens Fo od Safety Committee, a volunteer consortium comprised of 96 percent of Arizona's shippers and growers, work collaboratively to ensure uniform safe food handling practices are employed throughout the industry. The group came together in 2007 to represent the 15 various leafy greens products grown in Arizona, demonstrating their commitment to maintain safety of lettuces grown in Arizona from field to fork.

Those that are members of Arizona's Leafy Greens consortium agree to a rigorous set of standards and practices. Shippers and growers are subject to regular inspections by certified USDA auditors, who can impose sanctions on those who are out of compliance.

More information is available at www.arizonaleafygreens.org.

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