CPS announces produce research awards

The Center for Produce Safety (CPS) at the University of California Davis has awarded 10 new grants for research aimed at food safety practices for fresh produce.

The objective is to provide the produce industry with practical, useable research data that can be used at all levels of the supply chain for fruit, vegetable and tree nut production, harvest and post-harvest handling.

The CPS Technical Committee in charge of making the awards reviewed 50 proposals. From those, they selected the following recipients:

-Michele Jay-Russell, University of California, Davis: Reducing the risk for transfer of zoonotic foodborne pathogens from domestic and wild animals to vegetable crops in the southwest desert.

-Karen Killinger, Washington State University: Assessment of sanitation techniques for tree fruit storage bins.

-Nitin Nitin, University of California, Davis: Rapid assessment of oxidative stress induced in microbes to evaluate efficacy of sanitizers in wash water.

-Trevor Suslow, University of California, Davis: Practical validation of surface pasteurization of netted melons.

-Max Teplitski, University of Florida: Avirulent Salmonella strains and their use to model behavior of the pathogen in water, composts, in and on vegetables.

-Keith Warriner, University of Guelph: Die-off rates of human pathogens in manure-amended soil under natural climatic conditions using novel sentinel chamber system.

-Martin Wiedmann, Cornell University: Genomic elucidation of the physiological state of enteric pathogens on pre-harvest lettuce.

-Anita Wright, University of Florida: Science-based evaluation of risks associated with wildlife exposure for contamination of irrigation water by salmonella.

-Vivian Wu, University of Maine: Evaluation of the level of white-tailed deer fecal colonization by E. coli 0157:H7 and the ecological role of dung beetles with the pathogen in produce farms.

-Qixin Zhong, University of Tennessee: Novel coating systems with sustained release of food antimicrobials to improve safety of cantaloupe.

Dr. Robert Whitaker, CPS technical committee chair, said the grants’ core research areas have been expanded from the farm through processing and up the supply chain through distribution.

“Working with stakeholders, key knowledge gaps in food safety were identified, and CPS anticipates these new research projects will provide depth from which those stakeholders can develop science-based food safety programs,” he said.

To date, CPS has funded 69 projects valued at $10.6 million. Awards have been made possible by funds provided by CPS’s Partners in Research, which include a cross section of public and private partners. They include the California Department of Food and Agriculture, Washington State Department of Agriculture, California Cantaloupe Advisory Board, California Leafy Greens Research Program, California Melon Research Board, CPS Campaign for Research and Washington Tree Fruit Research Commission.

Originally posted Saturday, Oct. 6, 2012

Tags: center for produce safety, food safety, research