A TRANS-DISCIPLINARY APPROACH TO IMPROVING PRODUCE SAFETY
Environmental Microbial and Food Safety Laboratory
2012 Annual Report
1a.Objectives (from AD-416):
ARS is interested in developing effective intervention technologies during post-harvest handling and fresh-cut processing to inactivate pathogens, and/or reduce their survival and growth while maintaining produce quality and shelf-life. A team has been assembled, consisting of researchers from University of Illinois, North Carolina State University, University of Arizona, and University of California, each contributing their unique expertise to achieve the goals of the research. The proposed research is a part of an awarded NIFA grant entitled “Innovative Technologies and Process Optimization for Food Safety Risk Reduction Associated with Fresh and Fresh-cut Leafy Green Vegetables” (Agreement # 60-1265-1-029).
1b.Approach (from AD-416):
The Cooperator has expertise in performing quality and microbial assessment of leafy greens after fresh cut processing. Specifically, the quality and shelf life of leafy greens will be evaluated following optimization of the bench and pilot-scale ultrasonic treatment washing units developed by the University if Illinois. Testing will be conducted in collaboration with Dole Fresh Vegetables (Bessemer City, NC).
Planning and preparation for the evaluation of the quality and shelf life of fresh-cut produce washed under the new technology developed by USDA-ARS are under way. More research studies will be performed after the USDA-ARS completes the proposed development of novel wash technology.