WOODLAND, Calif. — The Center for Produce Safety (CPS) today announced 14 new research awards valued at a little over $3 million. The awards are for research projects directed at answering critical questions in specific areas of food safety practices. The goal is to provide science-based actions and decisions to prevent or minimize produce safety vulnerabilities across the supply and marketing chain.
“The 2017 call for research proposals was successful, with CPS receivingover one hundred full proposals and pre-proposals from some of the brightest minds in the field. The proposals address the most pressing food safety concerns right now,” said Tim York, President, Markon Cooperative, Inc., and Chair for the CPS Board of Directors. ” Following the technical committee’s recommendations, the board of directors approved the funding for this year’s award recipients. Funding for the projects comes from a combination of contributions to CPS’ Campaign for Produce Safety and state block-grant funds. We recognize the responsibility CPS has to ensure these funds are managed prudently to provide scientific tools that support fresh produce food safety programs for our customers and industry.”
Dr. Edward Dudley, Penn State, is a first-time award recipient and he is ready to tackle what he sees as produce safety gaps. “Microbiome analyses are popular methods of quantifying the microbial communities associated with plants, animals, humans, and soils, and are increasingly used to identify microorganisms present in food processing environments. However, little attention has been paid to whether using a different method of recovering microorganisms changes the final results. We are appreciative of CPS for funding this work and look forward to working with them, as our research efforts will provide industry, academic, and government scientists with increased confidence in their sampling protocols when applying microbiome analyses to food safety issues.”
Dr. Amanda Lathrop, at California Polytechnic State University, San Luis Obispo is another first-time CPS award recipient and is looking forward to starting her project. “This project will determine if and under what conditions L. monocytogenes will grow on beet greens, kale, Brussel sprouts, and broccoli stalk. The produce industry will be able to use this data to develop management strategies to minimize food safety risk,” said Dr. Lathrop. “We are excited to be partnering with CPS to conduct this applied research to bring immediate and impactful information to the produce industry.”
The awards were made possible by funds provided by the Center for Produce Safety’s campaign contributors, and the specialty crop block grant programs from the following States: California Department of Food and Agriculture, the Washington State Department of Agriculture, and Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services
Kay Cooksey, Clemson University
Michelle Green, University of Illinois