5/7/2009 10:38:00 AM 

Grants aim to increase food safety in greens

Source of Article: http://www.capitalpress.info/main.asp?SectionID=67&SubSectionID=782&ArticleID=51126&TM=65356.67

Cecilia Parsons
Capital Press

Grants to improve food safety in leafy greens were awarded by the Center for Produce Safety and the California Leafy Green Research Program.

More than $500,000 was awarded to seven scientists in the first "Partners in Research" program. The funding is the first collaboration between the center and the produce industry with the goal of lowering food safety risks associated with leafy green produce.

Bob Whitaker, chief science officer for the Produce Marketing Association and chair of the CPS technical committee, said the scientists chosen for the grants meet standards to produce business-focused results that can be used to produce food safety practices throughout the food chain.

An independent advisory board awarded the grants for seven projects. The projects will evaluate how pathogens are transferred during growing and harvesting and seek to identify factors that support the survival of E. coli on the leaf surfaces of leafy greens throughout the growing season.

The projects and the lead scientists are:

Contribution of phyllosphere microbiota to the persistence of E. coli O157:H7 on field grown lettuce: Maria Marco, University of California-Davis.

Fly reservoirs of E. coli O157:H7 and their role in contamination of leafy greens: Astri Wayadande, Oklahoma State University.

Food safety risks associated with sheep grazing in vegetable stubble fields: Bruce Hoar, UC-Davis.

Minimizing pathogen transference during lettuce harvesting by optimizing design of the harvesting device and operation practices: Yaguang Lou, USDA.

A high through-put culture-independent approach to identify index and indicator species for E. coli O157:H& contamination: Gitta Coaker, UC-Davis.

Survival of attenuated E. coli O157:H7 ATCC 700728 in field inoculated lettuce: Linda Harris, UC-Davis.

Comparison of surrogate E. coli survival and epidemiology of the phyllosphere of diverse leafy green crops: Trevor Suslow, UC-Davis.

Projects will be funded from April 1, 2009, to March 31, 2010.


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