1a. Objectives (from AD-416):
ARS is interested in developing technologies to improve fresh and fresh-cut product quality and shelf life. The COOPERATOR is interested in optimizing fresh-cut produce cutting and washing operations for improving food quality and safety of leafy green vegetables and fruits. The COOPERATOR has the expertise and infrastructure to effectively conduct the proposed research activities.
1b. Approach (from AD-416):
ARS will acquire the basic knowledge of fresh-cut processing conditions on microbial reduction, and quality and shelf life retention. The COOPERATOR will provide the expertise on commercial operations of fresh-cut processing, raw products, packaging films, and packaged fresh-cut salads.
3. Progress Report:
Planning and preparation for the investigation of the quality and shelf life of fresh-cut produce as impacted by postharvest handling and fresh-cut produce processing conditions are under way. The USDA-ARS research team has visited the processing plant of Dole Fresh Vegetables, and packaged samples have also been received from the company. Initial studies will focus on the effect of retail storage temperatures on the sensory quality and microbial growth of packaged salads.