Monday, April 30, 2012 by Lee Mannering
Last week via Twitter, I learned that the Center for Produce Safety released an updated agenda for its 2012 Research Symposium, June 27 at the University of California at Davis. A few months ago I shared news about the Center making $3 million available to fund general and commodity-specific research to address the fresh produce industry’s food safety research projects designed to fill basic knowledge gaps in specific areas of food safety practices for fruit, vegetable and tree nut production, harvest and post-harvest handling. Using that as a backdrop, this year’s symposium will explore:
- Good Agricultural Practices – Buffer Zones and Animal Vectors. Topics include E. coli O157:H7 in bioaerosols from cattle production; buffer zone distances between sheep grazing operations and vegetable crops; evaluation of amphibians and reptiles as potential reservoirs of foodborne pathogens; and a wildlife survey for E. coli O157:H7 in the central coast counties of California.
- Good Agricultural Practices – Irrigation Water Quality. Topics include epidemiologic analysis and risk management practices for reducing E. coli in irrigation source water; science-based evaluation of regional risks for Salmonella contamination of irrigation water at mixed produce farms; risk assessment of Salmonella pre-harvest internalization in relation to irrigation water quality standards for melons and other cucurbits; and mitigation of irrigation water using zero-valent iron treatment.
- Good Agricultural Practices – Inputs, Cultivation and Harvest. Topics include the benefits and challenges of using industry data; developing and validating practical strategies to improve microbial safety in composting process control and handling; assessing postharvest risks for Salmonella in pistachios; and pathogen transfer risks associated with specific tomato harvest and packing operations.
- Wash Water and Process Control. Topics include rapid testing of flume water organic load to better assess the efficacy of free chlorine against E. coli O157:H7 during commercial lettuce processing; enhancing the efficacy of fresh produce washing operations via monitoring methods and water disinfection technologies; evaluation and optimization of postharvest intervention strategies for the reduction of bacterial contamination on tomatoes; and improving produce safety by stabilizing chlorine in washing solutions with high organic loads.
PMA is a long-time supporter of the CPS. Earlier this year, we donated $900,000 to the Center to cover all administrative costs during the next two years and ensure that all other funding for CPS goes directly to support science-based research. In addition, Dr. Bob Whitaker, our Chief Science and Technology Officer, is chair of the CPS Technical Committee.
For full details on the 2012 Research Symposium (including registration and hotel information), visit the CPS website. To discuss this or other industry food safety research issues, join the Food Safety Community on PMA Xchange.
Also, if your organization is a PMA Gold Circle contributor, you’re invited to a free networking breakfast on June 28, where Dr. Bob Whitaker will discuss key findings from the new food safety research presented at the CPS symposium. If you’re not a Gold Circle contributor, here are details on how to become one.