Davis, California, Feb. 1, 2012 - The Center for Produce Safety at the University of California, Davis, today announced its 2012 request for food safety research proposals. The center and its public and industry research partners are making $3 million available to fund general and commodity-specific research to address the fresh produce industry's food safety research needs.
CPS and its partners sponsor research projects designed to fill basic knowledge gaps in specific areas of food safety practices for fruit, vegetable and tree nut production, harvest and post-harvest handling. The objective is to provide the produce industry with practical, translatable information that can be used at all levels of the supply chain. To date, CPS has compiled an impressive four-year body of work, awarding nearly $9 million and funding 58 one and two-year research projects at 19 universities.
"With this request for proposals, CPS is expanding upon some basic core research areas from the farm through processing and up the supply chain through distribution," said Bob Whitaker, chief science officer, Produce Marketing Association, and chair of the CPS Technical Committee. "We have worked with stakeholders to identify key knowledge gaps in food safety and look forward to the research community's response."
The 2012 RFP seeks to fund both produce-general food safety questions and commodity-specific questions. Core (produce-general) research priorities endeavor to better understand risk potential and to develop more effective food safety management tools in the following areas:
The RFP's general research priorities were identified in industry risk assessments and prioritized by the CPS Technical Committee, an independent advisory board that includes experts from industry, academia, government and nongovernmental organizations. The commodity-specific research priorities were developed with industry partners. This year's RFP seeks to fund commodity-specific food safety research pertaining to cantaloupe, tree fruit, pistachios and walnuts.
"The cantaloupe industry looks forward to the research proposals CPS will receive in response to this request," stated Paul Fleming, Martori Farms. "The questions were developed through a collaborative process with members of the supply chain, government and academia. Research into science based microbial reduction, cantaloupe-specific guidance, and outreach are all key areas within the produce industry's food safety priorities, and we expect research projects that not only address gaps in science-based data, but also present innovative approaches to food safety."
"It has never been more important for tree fruit producers, handlers and shippers to understand food safety issues and invest in the research and extension activities necessary to implement safe, efficient practices. The Washington tree fruit industry wholeheartedly supports the outstanding work of CPS to provide the leadership for a nationally-coordinated research and extension effort. The need for science-based information to address regulatory demands and consumer expectations has never been greater," stated Jim McFerson, Washington Tree Fruit Research Commission.
To view the full RFP, visit the CPS website at www.centerforproducesafety.org. Proposals are due by March 30 and should be submitted through the CPS Grant System website athttp://ucanr.org/cpsgrants/. All qualified research professionals are eligible to apply for CPS funding.
About Center for Produce Safety
Established by public and private partnership at the University of California, Davis, CPS funds original research; has created a searchable database of global produce safety research; and develops information transfer programs. Initial funding for CPS was provided by the California Department of Food and Agriculture, the University of California, Produce Marketing Association and Taylor Farms.
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