The USDA is proposing that they ask the public about whether the leafy green industry should be further regulated.

More regulation is the USDA’s response to several E. coli outbreaks that have been the result of consumption of contaminated produce.

One option is a national version of the industry-developed standards that followed the E. coli outbreak and now govern California farmers and leafy green handlers. The USDA is considering both voluntary and mandatory standards, officials say, but favors a voluntary program that allows flexibility.

California and Arizona leafy greens producers have already signed marketing agreements that were designed to encourage good manufacturing practices across their industry, and the United Fresh Produce Association has asked the government to step in and regulate farming and processing practices for leafy greens.