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ARS Home » Northeast Area » Beltsville, Maryland (BARC) » Beltsville Agricultural Research Center » Environmental Microbial & Food Safety Laboratory » Research » Research Project #431452

Research Project: Food Safety Innovations and Preventive Controls during Fresh and Fresh-Cut Produce Washing, Packing, and Retail Display

Location: Environmental Microbial & Food Safety Laboratory

Project Number: 8042-32420-009-017-I
Project Type: Interagency Reimbursable Agreement

Start Date: Sep 1, 2016
End Date: Aug 31, 2024

The ARS objectives are to 1) develop and validate food safety preventive controls for water application during fresh-cut processing, packing house operation, and retail store produce crisping; 2) evaluate food safety improvements and potential risks, and water and chemical usage of an innovative immersion-free fresh-cut produce washing technology; 3) develop water treatment technologies for cost-effective organic removal and water reuse; and 4) evaluate the effect of retrofitting open display case with doors on fresh-cut produce quality and safety, and energy use.

ARS will provide overall project management, and perform food quality and safety portion of the research. Parameter testing will include pathogen survival, growth, and cross-contamination during post-harvest handling, as well as the color and texture changes of fresh produce during retail display. The cooperators will investigate the effect of produce wash fluid dynamics including droplet size, distribution and spray cone angle on pathogen dislodging; develop technologies to remove water organics; perform economic analysis of new technologies; and distribute scientific information to the end users.