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ARS Home » Pacific West Area » Albany, California » Western Regional Research Center » Produce Safety and Microbiology Research » Research » Publications at this Location » Publication #403216

Research Project: Elucidating the Factors that Determine the Ecology of Human Pathogens in Foods

Location: Produce Safety and Microbiology Research

Title: Outcomes of stakeholder meeting discussing outreach efforts of waterless, non-thermal food processing technology USDA coordinated agriculture project / speaker's corner

item Lacombe, Alison
item Wu, Vivian
item SCHONBERGER, H. LESTER - Virginia Tech
item BOYER, RENEE - Virginia Tech

Submitted to: Meeting Abstract
Publication Type: Abstract Only
Publication Acceptance Date: 3/3/2023
Publication Date: N/A
Citation: N/A

Interpretive Summary:

Technical Abstract: Introduction: Currently available food processing technologies may not be sufficient to address microbiological risks resulting from contamination. Researchers with the Western Center of the USDA Agriculture Research Service lead a Coordinated Agricultural Project focused on the efficacy of waterless, non-thermal food processing technologies, such as pulsed light, chlorine dioxide, and cold plasma, and developing equipment and processes for their use in food production. An integrated component of the project is to measure perceptions and acceptance of these and other food processing technologies to inform outreach efforts. Purpose: The purpose of this study is to report the outreach-specific outcomes of a stakeholder meeting hosted by project leaders in April 2022. Methods: Stakeholders represented academia, governmental organizations, and the food industry. Four presentations were each immediately followed by a breakout session where stakeholders were asked a series of semi-structured questions to seek their feedback and identify future directions of the work. Breakout sessions were recorded, transcribed, and coded to determine categories and themes. Results: Related to the outreach component of the project, stakeholders highlighted the value of educating cooperative extension educators about these technologies so they can effectively educate consumers. Stakeholders acknowledged cooperative extension’s role as a trusted source of information, and also challenged extension educators to take an increasingly proactive role in sharing information. Stakeholders discussed a perception that the food industry would be unlikely to utilize these technologies if consumers will not accept them. To that end, stakeholders discussed the usefulness of measuring global perceptions of food processing technologies given the international scale of our food system. Significance: The results presented inform the remaining outreach work of the project, identify future work once the project concludes, and also to serve as a case study documenting considerations for researchers who are developing novel food processing technologies and how to effectively educate educators and consumers about them.