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Food safety requirements for leafy vegetable growers and primary processors

Leafy vegetable growers and primary processors may be subject to new food safety standards.

Who needs to meet the requirements?

The requirements will apply to all primary producers and primary processors of leafy vegetables.

  • A primary producer is a business that grows and/or harvests leafy vegetables.
  • A primary processor is a business that does any of the following: washing, trimming, sorting, sanitising, storing, combining and packing leafy vegetables, and transporting leafy vegetables between pack houses.

What are the requirements?

The requirements of Standard 4.2.8 include:

  • an approved food safety management statement showing how risks are managed
  • traceability: being able to track where leafy vegetables have come from and who they have gone to
  • managing inputs: including seeds, seedlings, soil, fertiliser and water so they do not make leafy vegetables unsafe to eat
  • hygiene: good personal hygiene and health practices of people that handle leafy vegetables, as well as good hygiene of the premises and equipment they use.

The requirements will come into effect from 12 February 2025. Refer to Standard 4.2.8 Primary production and processing standard for leafy vegetables for full details.

Why has a standard been introduced for leafy vegetables?

If leafy vegetables become contaminated with harmful microorganisms or other hazards, they can make people sick. Cases of foodborne illness in Australia and overseas have been linked to fresh leafy vegetables.

The standard aims to reduce the presence of hazards on leafy vegetables, keeping the vegetables safe for consumers to eat raw. Actions to manage the hazards start on the farm.

Leafy vegetables can become contaminated from animals, the growing location, weather events, seeds and seedlings, soil, manure and composts, water, postharvest washing and sanitisation, and poor worker and equipment hygiene.

The standard sets minimum requirements for food safety, to address the main risks during leafy vegetable production.

What crops are included?

The standard applies to fresh vegetables of a leafy nature where the leaf is consumed raw including, but not limited to:

  • all lettuces
  • spinach
  • kale
  • Asian leafy greens
  • leafy herbs
  • spring onions /scallions
  • silverbeet /chard
  • cabbage
  • microgreens.

What crops are NOT included in the standard?

This standard does not apply to broccoli, broccolini, cauliflower, asparagus, artichoke, root and tuber vegetables, bulb vegetables, brussel sprouts, kohlrabi, cucumber, peppers, eggplant, rhubarb, squash, celery and leek.

What do I need to do?

Page last updated 22 November 2023