Grants aim to
increase food safety in greens
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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
• 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,
• 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.