An estimated 120,000 trucks cross our southern border every year importing fresh produce including tomatoes, cucumbers, and peppers to name a few. In 2013, the U.S. Department of Agriculture reported 4.2 billion pounds of produce crossed into Nogales, Arizona. A potential stopping point for the produce you eat may be one of approximately 110 warehouses located in Santa Cruz County.

Historically, the Office of Environmental Health (OEH) has overseen licensing of warehouses to ensure safe conditions and appropriate prevention of contamination. In a new partnership with the Bureau of Special Licensing, OEH registered sanitarians provided training to surveyors and team leads to carry out inspections that are required semiannually. The inspection reports will be reviewed and approved by the sanitarians and the special licensing team will issue and maintain licenses.

In addition to the surveyors’ current inspections of medical marijuana dispensaries and group homes for individuals with a developmental disability, they each visited 15 to 20 warehouses, most within a week of their initial training. Thank you to the special licensing team for eagerly completing the inspections for this unique facility type, and to the OEH sanitarians for providing the training. The group will now begin planning for the next round of inspections in 2016.