- Associated Press - Thursday, August 11, 2016

ALBANY, N.Y. (AP) - New York has established a certification program for the state’s food producers who maintain certain agricultural practices for environmental conservation and safety.

Gov. Andrew Cuomo says Thursday food safety is a growing concern and the marketplace is flooded with unverified claims like “natural” and produce marked “organic” from countries like China with widespread pollution.

The Department of Agriculture and Markets has established a seal for New York State Grown and Certified products.

Qualified farmers and other producers will have to join the state’s agricultural environmental management program.

They also need an independent annual food safety audit like the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s program.

It certifies fruits and vegetables are produced, packed, handled and stored as safely as possible to minimize risk of disease-causing bacteria and other microbes.

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