1a. Objectives (from AD-416):
ARS is interested in developing new or optimized washing and sanitizing technologies to improve fresh and fresh-cut produce safety, conducting pilot plant trials in Monterey California, and transferring technologies to the end users. The Cooperator is interested in assisting USDA project team in pilot plant trials, familiarizing the industry stakeholders with our new technologies, and facilitating technology adoption. The Cooperator has the expertise and experience in outreach and extension, and has farm and laboratory facilities in Monterey California where the majority of leafy green vegetables are grown and processed. 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”
1b. Approach (from AD-416):
The Cooperator has expertise in pertinent aspects of leafy green production and harvesting in the Salinas Valley. The Cooperator will serve as a local contact person for the research team regarding research activities conducted in the Salinas Valley area, and provide laboratory space and materials to the team as needed. In addition, the Cooperator will design, create, and implement extension outreach materials based on research findings, deliver research-based information to the agricultural industry and stakeholders, and assist in the training of students involved with this project.
3. Progress Report:
The extension and outreach effort of the NIFA-funded project has been going well. The first Beltsville Agricultural Research Center (BARC) food safety conference and stakeholder advisory board meeting was held in conjunction with the industry public policy conference. The researchers presented their research findings to the industry attendees and discussed the potential applications of this information for developing food safety standards, as well as the next steps and directions of the project. In addition, the collaborator from UC Davis also discussed the project progress and findings with the stakeholders at a number of extension and outreach meetings in California.