Summary of Awards to Date

Pathogen transfer risks associated with specific tomato harvest and packing operations.

Date

Jan. 1, 2011 - Dec. 31, 2012

Award Number

2011-131

Funding Agency

Center for Produce Safety

Amount Awarded

$117,445.00

Investigator

Michelle Danyluk, Ph.D
University of Florida

Co-Investigator(s)

K. Schneider

Summary

The establishment standards related to removal of dirt and debris from tomato fruits during
field pack operations and re-use of tomato cartons in re-pack operations within the Tomato
Good Agricultural Practices and Best Management Practices document is essential for the
responsible harvesting, handling and packing of fresh tomatoes. Understanding risks potential
transfer of pathogens onto tomatoes from used tomato cartons or cloths used to remove
debris is a fundamental management prerequisite to providing customers with safe tomatoes.
There is inadequate science-based data to base current standards and audit inspection criteria
for re-use of tomato cartons and removal of dirt and debris from tomatoes. The purpose of this
research project is to define risks associated with dirt and debris removal in the field and re-use
of tomato cartons in re-pack operations. The research outcomes will allow for the assignment
of research-based metrics for in field debris removal and re use of tomato cartons for the fresh
tomato industry.