Summary of Awards to Date

Enhancing the safety of locally grown produce through research and extension.

Read Full Publication...

Date

Sep. 1, 2009 - Aug. 31, 2012

Award Number

GEO-2009-01968

Funding Agency

Center for Produce Safety

Amount Awarded

$598,541.00

Investigator

Judy Harrison, Ph.D.
University of Georgia

Co-Investigator(s)

Harrison, M., Gaskin, J., HUrst, W., Critzer, F., Cannon, J., and Law, S.

Summary

As more fresh produce has been eaten in the U.S., there have been more cases of foodborne illness associated with it. Americans are turning to organic and locally grown foods as healthier, safer alternatives than mass-produced products. Organic produce sales have increased 20% annually since 1990. Since small to medium farms that typically supply organic and locally grown produce may not have the training, the personnel or the resources to develop food safety plans, are these products really safer This project will examine practices on farms and in farm markets to determine current conditions that exist and how those conditions affect bacterial and viral contamination of fresh produce. We will look at materials added to soils to make them more fertile and the effects they have on disease-causing organisms that may be present in soil and on produce. We will examine methods of handling and processing to reduce the risk of contamination of fresh produce. The results of our studies will be translated into educational materials for small and mid-size farms and farm markets in an effort to enhance the safety of organic and locally grown foods for consumers. The significance of this project to agriculture is the enhanced safety and marketability of locally grown produce.