Sep. 1, 2008 - Aug. 31, 2011Award Number
Center for Produce SafetyAmount Awarded
Richard B. Standiford, Ph.D.
College of Natural Resources at the University of California, Berkeley
This competitive research program will advance scientific knowledge in sources and causes of food-borne illnesses. Consumer confidence in fresh produce is critical; these foods are essential to achieving national nutrition enhancement and obesity-reduction goals and in significantly cutting long-term health costs. Recent incidents of E. coli O157:H7 and other microbial contaminants in spinach and leafy greens in the Salinas Valley and elsewhere, resulting in serious illnesses and several deaths, has shaken consumer confidence and cost growers millions of dollars. Currently, we lack sufficient science-based knowledge to develop reliable, cost-effective best management strategies and educational programs for growers, packers, shippers, grocers and other end users. As a result, industry is employing costly measures, predicated only on "best guesses," in an attempt to reduce sources of contamination. The Center for Produce Safety at UC Davis will coordinate this project with private sector funding received for produce food safety research. Priorities will be set by a broad advisory group of academia, industry, NGOs, and government agencies. Requests for proposals, based on these priorities, will be solicited from throughout the state and nation. Proposals will be reviewed and rated by science panels to ensure high quality research focused on issues of high priority.