Summary of Awards to Date

An integrated approach to prevent and minimize foodborne enteric viruses in vegetables and fruits.

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Date

Sep. 1, 2010 - Aug. 31, 2014

Award Number

OHO01072-SS

Funding Agency

Center for Produce Safety

Amount Awarded

$1,000,000.00

Investigator

Jianrong Li, Ph.D.
Ohio State University

Co-Investigator(s)

Jaykus, L., Lee, K., Douglas, D., Chen, H., Jiang, X., and Uribe, R.

Summary

This special emphasis NIFSI project directly addresses the most prevalent cause of food illness with a strategy to prevent and minimize the foodborne enteric viruses in vegetables and fruits. Foodborne viruses are the dominant causative agents of fresh produce associated disease outbreaks. However, the ecology and survival of enteric viruses in fresh produce is poorly understood. None of the decontamination methods investigated so far have been shown to effectively eliminate foodborne viruses in fresh produce. No major extension and outreach effort has focused on the highly relevant challenge of virus contamination in fresh produce. In this project, we propose an integrated approach to prevent and minimize the foodborne enteric viruses in vegetables and fruits. Using cultivable murine norovirus and hepatitis A virus as the models, we will determine the attachment, internalization, and survival of foodborne viruses in vegetables and fruits, and develop novel sanitizers and non-thermal processing technologies to remove and inactivate enteric viruses in fresh produce. Our extension effort will focus on disseminating these new knowledge and practices to stakeholders and the fresh produce industry with a goal of improving practice and implementing these new preventive strategies and interventions. Furthermore, we will incorporate these new knowledge and practices into the higher education system, develop Foodborne Viruses and Food Safety and Food Virus Education Module, and train the next generation of food safety professionals in the US. Our project will not only fill a major gap in our understanding of the interaction of virus and fresh produce, but also will result in the development and implementation of novel strategies and interventions to prevent and minimize the foodborne viruses. In the long term, our efforts will improve the safety of vegetables and fruits through integration of research, extension, and education.