Summary of Awards to Date

Quantifying microbial risks during growth of produce.

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Date

Sep. 1, 2009 - Aug. 31, 2013

Award Number

COL0-2009-01984

Funding Agency

USDA - CSREES

Amount Awarded

$1,084,429.00

Investigator

Lawrence D. Goodridge, Ph.D.
Colorado State University

Co-Investigator(s)

Danyluk, M., Schaffner, D., Suslow, T., Ryser, E., Castillo, A., and Sofos, J.

Summary

Ongoing food safety outbreaks have necessitated the need to develop effective solutions to reduce the burden of foodborne disease related to the consumption of fresh produce. Currently, several research groups are conducting studies related to risk assessment of various parameters as they relate to the growth, harvest, processing, and transportation of fresh produce. The long term goal of this project is the development of commodity specific quantitative risk assessments that will be used to identify production practices that may lead to increased risk of produce contamination and exposure to the consumer. An emphasis will be placed on quantifying risks at time points as close to produce consumption as possible. Risks associated with the growth of produce will be quantified through experiments that entail sampling produce during the growth, harvest and processing stages to determine the prevalence of foodborne pathogens, and conducting artificial inoculation studies to understand the ecology of the pathogens during produce growth. The studies proposed here will be the first comprehensive attempt to integrate risk assessment data from multiple sources to produce programs that can evaluate microbial risks associated with future produce growing events. The results of the project will be communicated to interested stakeholders through symposia, targeted visits to vegetable growers and producers, and through electronic media. The risk assessment programs that will be created represent new tools with which the microbial safety of fresh produce can be enhanced.