Aug. 1, 2012 - Dec. 31, 2013Award Number
IDS (Intertox Decision Sciences)
While there have been numerous studies and programs designed to mitigate the occurrence of microbial pathogens in leafy greens, particularly in California, there has been no strong linkage made between the mitigation practices and actual microbial pathogen occurrence. This is especially the case for pathogen levels observed that may not result in illness if the produce is consumed. Absent those linkages, it is unclear if best practices are contributing to reduced disease causing microbial pathogen levels and if so, the significance of the contribution. This proposal seeks to identify the causative factors that may contribute to the occurrence of pathogens in leafy greens using data obtained from a survey coordinated among industry participants in the Salinas Valley. In this project, a database will be created that over time can become the reference point for improving best practices. This work is intended as a pilot program designed for implementation during the 2011 Salinas Valley growing season. Future work will build on this database and may result in a data-intensive leafy green risk assessment. To ensure the proposal objectives meet industry needs, we will work with a leafy green sample group (LGSG) consisting of processors, handlers and growers, who contribute individual field data to subsequently to create a database containing 2011 case control survey data.