As its membership expands within in the onion industry, Certified Onions Inc., based in Idaho-Eastern Oregon’s Treasure Valley onion growing region, also continues to grow the services offered to more than two dozen shipper members.
This year, according to COI President Kay Riley, sampling is being done by both the Oregon Department of Agriculture and by the Idaho Food Safety Assurance Lab.
“Originally our focus was just on pesticide residue,” Riley said of COI. “We are doing more microbial testing for E coli 157 and salmonella, which is being required by one of our area’s most significant customers. To date we’ve never found anything [microbial contamination of dried storage onions] but we continue to test.”
Riley said the storage onion industry is “anxiously awaiting the final rule on Food Safety Modernization Act” regulations. The proposed rule that was proposed prior to the most recent comment period “would work for us,” he said, and would not categorize dried storage onions with leafy greens.
The pesticide screening tests for five off-label chemicals that are not registered as well as for maximum reside of licensed pesticides.