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ARS Holds Conference on Food Quality and Safety

By Doris Stanley
April 20, 1998

USDA’s Agricultural Research Service will sponsor a symposium May 3-6 at the Beltsville (Md.) Agricultural Research Center to discuss research on foodborne pathogens. Beltsville Symposium XXIII will focus on quality and safety of fresh fruits and vegetables.

This theme is especially timely and important because of the shifting emphasis on marketing fresh produce, according to K. Darwin Murrell, ARS deputy administrator. Since new dietary information encourages consumption of more fresh fruits and vegetables to maintain health, scientists seek to ensure that these commodities are high-quality and free of harmful microorganisms.

In addition to ARS and industry participation, internationally known scientists from Germany, New Zealand and major U.S. universities will present their research on food quality and safety.

Major topics of discussion will include food packaging, handling of microbial populations and HACCP (Hazard Analysis Critical Control Point) monitoring and control of microbiological hazards. Because of the importance of quality as well as safety and shelf life of both whole and fresh-cut fruits and vegetables, a significant part of the symposium will focus on measuring and evaluating quality.

This is the 23rd year that ARS has hosted researchers, growers, processors and consumers to discuss major issues that affect all aspects of agriculture. The press is also invited. Symposium XXIII is co-chaired by lab director Kenneth C. Gross and horticulturist Chien Yi Wang of the ARS Horticultural Crops Quality Laboratory in Beltsville.

For additional information or to register for the symposium, contact Kendra Jenkins, USDA, ARS, Bldg. 002, Room 117, 10300 Baltimore Avenue, Beltsville, MD 20705-2350, phone (301) 504-6128, fax (301) 504-5107.

Scientific contacts: Kenneth C. Gross and Chien Yi Wang, Horticultural Crops Quality Laboratory, Beltsville, MD 20705-2350, phone (301) 504-6128, fax (301) 504-5107,,

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