Summary of Awards to Date

Enhancing the efficacy of fresh produce washing operations through establishing monitoring methods and water disinfection technologies based on a combination of filtration and UV.

Date

Jan. 1, 2011 - Dec. 31, 2012

Award Number

2011-109

Funding Agency

Center for Produce Safety

Amount Awarded

$101,325.00

Investigator

Keith Warriner, Ph.D.
University of Guelph

Summary

The washing of fresh produce is an important step in commercial processing to remove
field-acquired contamination. In the course of commercial fresh produce processing the
microbial loading and organic loading of the water increases. Consequently, the
microbial loading in the water decreases the efficacy of the wash process and increases
the potential for contamination to spread through to subsequent product batches. It is
common practice to partially or fully replenish tanks with fresh wash water although the
timing is largely subjective as opposed to being based on a quality indicator. In the
proposed project, a measurable wash water parameter(s) that can be monitored in real
time will be identified to report on the microbiological quality. This will enable
processors to more accurately identify when the water requires to be changed in order to
maintain the efficacy of the wash process and reduce cross contamination events. In
addition, a cost effective water-recycling unit will be developed based on a combination
of filtration and ultraviolet light. By recycling the efficacy of the wash water process will
be maintained with cost savings in resources through reduced consumption and wastewater
treatmcnt.