In 2006, an outbreak of E. coli O157:H7 associated with California spinach resulted in widespread illness across the United States. The magnitude of the outbreak and the resulting media attention demanded a change in the governance of leafy green produce. Drawing from more than 130 personal interviews, this paper critically examines how powerful players in the produce industry organized a strategic approach to governing leafy greens production in California. Networks are used to explore the evolution of new industry-led food safety standards and how they directly conflicted with and overpowered environmental agendas. This paper highlights serious concerns regarding participation and transparency in the creation of food safety standards, identifying patterns of winners and losers and suggesting ways in which we might foster more democratic approaches to food governance.

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