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Center for Produce Safety Awards 13 New Research Projects

September 25, 2018

Woodland, CA, September 25, 2018 - The Center for Produce Safety (CPS) today announced 13 new research awards valued at a little over $2.6 million.  The awards are for research projects directed at answering critical questions in specific areas of food safety practices. Among this year's topics - storage, sanitation, agricultural water, co-management and risk-based field sampling.

"We are proud to announce this slate of awards led by outstanding scientists from around the globe to answer pressing research needs and advance real-world solutions," said Dave Corsi, Vice President of Produce and Floral at Wegmans Food Markets, and Chair for the CPS Board of Directors. "Funding for the projects comes from a combination of contributions to CPS' Campaign for Produce Safety and state block-grant funds. We recognize the responsibility CPS has to ensure these funds are managed prudently to provide scientific tools that support fresh produce food safety programs for our customers and industry." 

Dr. Matthew Stasiewicz, University of Illinois, is a first-time award recipient and he is ready to work with the produce industry. "We are excited to begin our project to simulate in-field produce sampling to guide risk-based sampling plans.  While our team is actively working on developing computational tools to simulate sampling plans and understand field-specific risks, CPS has made it possible for us to partner with industry leaders to apply our models to commercial fields and validate predictions against industry data as well as field-trial data. These partnerships will ensure that our project is a collaboration leading to practical recommendations to improve in-field food safety sampling."

"Working together with apple growers from Washington State, Michigan and Pennsylvania, our team with almost 70 years of combined experience with Listeria and world-class expertise in apple physiology, is excited to be able to contribute to the goals of CPS," stated Dr. Elliot Ryser, Michigan State University. "Through our combined efforts, this 2-year project will provide answers to many important questions, including 1) How long do outbreak strains of Listeria monocytogenes persist on apples during air and controlled atmosphere storage, 2) Do different Listeria strains have different capabilities for surviving on apples, 3) Does apple waxing increase or decrease Listeria survival, 4) Does Listeria survival on apples differ according to apple variety,  growing region, and growing season, and 5) Does Listeria survival on apples differ between planktonic cells versus biofilm-derived cells?"

The awards were made possible by funds provided by the Center for Produce Safety's Campaign Contributors, the California Department of Food and AgricultureWashington State Department of Agriculture, Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services, and Texas Department of Agriculture.

2018 RFP Grant Recipients (projects will begin January 2019):

Ana Allende, PhD, Centro de Edafologia y Biologia Aplicada del Segura (CEBAS) - CSIC, Spain  
Significance of Sanitizers on Induction of Viable but Non-Cultivable (VBNC) Foodborne Bacteria and Their Survival and Resuscitation in Fresh Produce

Kay Cooksey, PhD, Clemson University
Preventive Sanitation Measures for the Elimination of Listeria monocytogenes Biofilms in Critical Postharvest Sites

Kerry Cooper, PhD, University of Arizona
Illuminating the Role of Whole Genome Sequencing in Produce Safety

Charles Gerba, PhD, University of Arizona
Development of a Model to Predict the Impact of Sediments on Microbial Irrigation Water Quality

Emma Hartnett, PhD, Risk Sciences International, Canada
Exploring the Relationship Between Product Testing and Risk

Renata Ivanek, PhD, Cornell University
Modeling Tools for Design of Science-Based Listeria Environmental Monitoring Programs and Corrective Action Strategies

Xiuping Jiang, PhD, Clemson University
Identifying Competitive Exclusion Microorganisms Against Listeria monocytogenes From Biological Soil Amendments by Metagenomic, Metatranscriptomic, and Culturing Approaches

Daniel Karp, PhD, University of California, Davis
Towards a Decision-Support Tool for Identifying and Mitigating On-Farm Risks to Food Safety

Xiangwu Nou, PhD, USDA ARS Beltsville Agricultural Research Center
Listeria monocytogenes Growth Potential, Kinetics, and Factors Affecting its Persistence on a Broad Range of Fresh Produce 

Elliot Ryser, PhD, Michigan State University
Fate of Different Listeria monocytogenes Strains on Different Whole Apple Varieties During Long-Term Simulated Commercial Storage

Matthew Stasiewicz, PhD, University of Illinois
Simulation Analysis of In-Field Produce Sampling for Risk-Based Sampling Plan Development

Laura Strawn, PhD, Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University
A Systematic Review of Listeria Growth and Survival on Fruit and Vegetable Surfaces: Responding to Critical Knowledge Gaps

Boce Zhang, PhD, University of Massachusetts
Non-Fouling Food Contact Surfaces - Prevention of Biofilm and Surface-Mediated Cross-Contamination 

All food safety research awards can be found on the
Research Awards page on the CPS website

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