Summary of Awards to Date

Ecology and Epidemiology of Escherichia Coli O157:H7 in fresh produce production regions of the Central California coast.

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Date

Sep. 1, 2007 - Aug. 31, 2010

Award Number

CALR-2007-02029

Funding Agency

Center for Produce Safety

Amount Awarded

$470,999.00

Investigator

Robert E. Mandrell, Ph.D.
Western Regional Research Center, Albany, CA

Summary

Consumption of fresh fruits and vegetables is growing in the United States, but has coincided with produce-associated outbreaks. Our hypothesis is that key biotic and abiotic processes link the primary environmental reservoirs. Preventing on-farm contamination of produce with enteric pathogens would enhance the safety of the Nation's food supply. We propose to sample vertebrate animals, water, soil and produce, for EcO157, and commensal and non-O157 shigatoxin+ E. coli, and use epidemiological approaches to determine if: (1) vertebrate populations are sources of EcO157 contamination of watersheds, soil, and plants; (2) climate, landscape, irrigation, or management practices correlate with contamination; and (3) in-field contamination of leafy vegetables is associated with production practices and environmental risk factors. This information will be used to inform growers about strategies to prevent contamination, to educate the livestock community about potential impacts of their operations, minimizing wild animal contact with fields.