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Trade Group Calls for California ‘Greenhouse Grown’ Amendment

VENTURA, Calif. — Certified Greenhouse Farmers, a trade group, has called upon the California Department of Food and Agriculture to amend a state law that defines “greenhouse-grown” tomatoes to make it clear exactly how the tomatoes are grown.

Certified Green House Farmers President Ed Beckman and two greenhouse tomato growers testified in support of an amendment at a recent hearing.

“This hearing was a vital step toward adopting a uniform standard definition for greenhouse-grown produce nationwide,” said Beckman in a statement, “and with the explosive growth of products marketed as greenhouse, it’s critical that ‘greenhouse’ be well defined in order to protect the integrity of the growing process and consumers who purchase greenhouse-grown tomatoes.”

The group, representing about 95% of growers of greenhouse tomatoes grown in California, argues that mislabeling has become a problem as the popularity of greenhouse-grown tomatoes has boomed.

REFRESH Blog: What's in a Greenhouse? Group Wants a Standard

Specifically, the group calls for an amendment that would clarify California’s existing code and dovetail with federal codes in the U.S. and Canada to solidify a definition for hydroponic, greenhouse-grown produce.

More than 50% of tomato sales in supermarkets are now packaged and labeled as “greenhouse grown,” according to Nielsen Perishables Group. In addition, the Perishables Group states that greenhouse tomatoes on the vine are preferred by nearly one out of three shoppers, representing the single highest type of tomato purchase.

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