Ten projects aimed at answering critical food safety questions have been selected for grants by the Center for Produce Safety (CPS) at the University of California, Davis.
The projects, which will start in January 2013, are aimed at areas such as food safety practices for fruit, vegetable and tree nut production, harvest and post-harvest handling.
The CPS said the objective is to provide the produce industry with practical, translatable research data that can be used at all levels of the supply chain.
The 10 grant awards total $1.8m.
Projects include ‘Practical validation of surface pasteurization of netted melons’ led by Trevor Suslow, from the University of California, Davis.
‘Novel coating systems with sustained release of food antimicrobials to improve safety of cantaloupe’, from Qixin Zhong, University of Tennessee and ‘Avirulent Salmonella strains and their use to model behavior of the pathogen in water, composts, in and on vegetables’ by Max Teplitski, University of Florida.
The CPS Technical Committee reviewed 50 proposals, the highest number received in response to its annual proposal request since the initial request in 2008.
The technical committee is an advisory group that includes experts from industry, academia, government and non-governmental organizations in collaboration with technical experts from PIR organizations.
Throughout the chain
“The research being conducted at CPS is applicable to all points of the supply chain – farmers, shippers, handlers and consumers. CPS’s collaboration with its Partners in Research demonstrates what is possible when we work together to share knowledge to help keep fresh produce safe,” said Stephen Patricio, CPS Advisory Board chairman.
To date CPS has funded 69 projects valued at $10.6m and the awards announced last week resulted from the CPS request for proposals issued in February.
“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,” said Dr. Robert Whitaker, CPS Technical Committee chairman.