Advancing the Safety of Fresh Produce
Since 2000, the U.S. National Integrated Food Safety Initiative (NIFSI), a competitive grants program, has awarded approximately 300 grants to fund applied research using an integrated approach to solve food safety problems over the farm-to-fork continuum. In 2006, the Special Emphasis Grants was introduced to the program in order to increase funding for critical food safety issues as they arise, and in 2007 the “Improving the Safety of Fresh and Fresh-Cut Fruits and Vegetables” Special Emphasis area was launched, which has remained because of the many issues the food industry faces with produce safety.
NIFSI has funded seven produce safety special emphasis projects since its inception for a total of $11.5 million. They are focused on a variety of pathogens and viruses and the development of interventions and trainings targeted towards farmers, processors, retailers, and consumers. Session 022 “Improving the Safety of Fresh Produce: An Integrated Approach” will provide information on the major outcomes and impacts of several projects that have been funded through this funding stream as provided by the project directors for individual projects.
Jodi Williams, USDA National Institute of Food and Agriculture, will give attendees an overview of the successes and accomplishments of grants program over its 12-year lifespan thus far.
Michael P. Doyle, Univ. of Georgia, will delve in and specifically discuss a research project that was initiated in 2007 to cover both production and processing elements to improve the safety of leafy green products.
Following Doyle, Jeffrey LeJeune, Ohio State Univ., will discuss another research project that looked specifically at how to identify farm management practices to reduce pathogenic contamination and how to get farmers to adopt such methods.
Finally, Larry Goodridge, Colorado State Univ., examines how index organism testing can be used to predict Salmonella contamination in a greenhouse tomato operation.
With the 2010 Dietary Guidelines for Americans stressing the importance of eating fresh fruits and veggies, the research being done to keep produce pathogen-free is vital. Attend session 022 on Tuesday, June 25, 10:30 a.m.–12:00 p.m. in room N113 to learn more about this research.