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CPS Joins Public and Private Partners to Award More Than $2.5 Million

October 15, 2009
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Davis, Calif., October 15, 2009 – The Center for Produce Safety at UC Davis (CPS) today announced that thirteen new grants were awarded for research aimed at mitigating the food safety risks associated with growing and harvesting fresh produce.

The broad scope of the winning projects reflects the deep expertise and financial commitments of CPS’s
public and private partners.

Eleven of the 13 grants were for proposals submitted in response to a RFP issued in May, 2009. For that program, CPS reached out to industry partners with inter‐related research needs who then collectively matched funds provided by the California Department of Food And Agriculture (CDFA) Specialty Crop Block Grant and the University of California Agriculture and Natural Resources (UC‐ANR). In addition to CDFA and UC‐ANR, the partners include:
Almond Board of California,
California Pistachio Research Board,
Florida Tomato Committee,
Grocery Manufacturers Association,
Taylor Farms,

Two additional grants were for proposals submitted in response to an earlier RFP. Reflecting the international reach of CPS’s work, the November, 2008, program was coordinated jointly by CPS and the United States ‐ Israel Binational Agricultural Research and Development Fund (BARD).

The latest round of grants exemplify CPS’s progress in facilitating public and private collaborations under the “Partners in Research” (PIR) program. PIR grants are co‐developed and co‐funded with industry partners to address the research priorities of specific commodities, commodity groups, and/or growing regions.

“On behalf of our partners, we are eager to demonstrate the power of leveraging public and private commitments to address critical research questions,” said Tim York, president of Markon Cooperative and chairman of the CPS advisory board. “These collaborations are the way of the future and we will work to foster them as long as they produce results.”

Dr. Bob Klein, manager of the California Pistachio Research Board, also emphasized the importance of actionable research. “The California pistachio industry appreciates the opportunity to partner with CPS for research on food safety,” he said. “We are excited to play a role in creating science‐based food safety programs and we look forward to the answers and approaches the research will provide.”

Working with technical experts from the partner organizations, the CPS Technical Committee—an independent advisory board including experts from industry, academia, government and NGOs—reviewed nearly 40 proposals before selecting winners, who will receive funding starting this month:

Evaluation and optimization of post‐harvest intervention strategies for the reduction of bacterial contamination on tomatoes. Keith Schneider, PhD, University of Florida

Mitigation of irrigation water using zero‐valent iron treatment. Kamia Kniel, PhD, University of Delaware
Wildlife survey for E. coli O157:H7 in the central coastal counties of California. Andrew Gordus, California Department of Fish & Game

Survival of E. coli on soil amendments and irrigation water in leafy green field environments. Steven Koike, University of California Cooperative Extension

Epidemiologic analysis and risk management practices for reducing E. coli in irrigation source water supplies and distribution systems. Edward R. Atwill, PhD, University of California, Davis

Reducing tomato contamination with Salmonella through cultivar selection and maturity at harvest. Max Teplitski, PhD, University of Florida.

Assessing postharvest risks for Salmonella in pistachios. Linda Harris, PhD, University of California, Davis

Impact of almond moisture, almond cultivar, and Salmonella Serovar on the desiccation, persistence, and heat resistance of Salmonella in almonds. Linda Harris, PhD, University of California, Davis

Establishment of critical operating standards for chlorine dioxide in disinfection of dump tank and flume water for fresh tomatoes
Trevor Suslow, PhD, University of California, Davis

Using Leafy Green Marketing Agreement audit data to determine non‐compliance areas and preparation of training and recommendations for improvements in future growing seasons. Michael Peterson, MEM, DABT, Intertox, Inc.

Spinach grown under slow‐ and fast‐growth conditions to enteric bacterial contamination. Astri Wayadande, PhD, Oklahoma State University.

Science‐based monitoring for produce safety: comparing indicators and pathogens in water, soil, and crops. Osnat Gillor, PhD, Ben Gurion University of the Negev

Persistence and detection of Norovirus, Salmonella, and pathogenic Escherichia coli on basil and leafy greens. Dallas Hoover, PhD, University of Delaware

“We are pleased with both the quality and the scope of the selected projects,” said Dr. Bob Whitaker, chief science officer for Produce Marketing Association and chairman of the CPS Technical Committee. “The projects go to the heart of many of the critical food safety questions faced daily by growers and processers in our industry and will provide them with real‐world risk management solutions.”

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