Project Number: 8042-32420-005-20
Start Date: Aug 15, 2011
End Date: Dec 30, 2015
Foodborne outbreaks due to microbial contamination of fresh produce have been increasing in recent years. This proposal addresses methods to prevent, detect, monitor, control, and respond to potential food safety hazards in the production and processing of specialty crops, including fresh produce. The goals target identification of routes of introduction; factors that influence persistence and survival of E. coli and S. enterica in leafy greens and melons from production to finished product preparation; and dissemination of information across the nation. The results obtained during this study will help in developing alternative technologies to enhance the safety of produce and to educate/train different sectors of the produce industry and different groups of consumers on food safety practices to avoid consumption of contaminated produce. Ultimately, it will help specialty crop industries recover and retain consumer confidence and reduce food safety risks. For the proposed project, ARS, EMFSL, will focus on part of objective (1) to determine the factors influencing bacterial attachment to leafy greens surfaces and internalization of E. coli O157:H7 while the cooperator will conduct research to address part of objectives 1, 2 and 3-6.