Summary of Awards to Date

CPS Tri-State Special Project on Harvest Equipment: A data-informed consensus of “clean for the intended purpose”


Sep. 11, 2023 - Jun. 30, 2024

Award Number


Amount Awarded



Channah Rock, Ph.D.
University of Arizona


Michelle Danyluk, Ph.D.


Recently, a broad sector of the industry has come together in a call-to-action on harvest equipment cleaning and sanitation performance and standardization of performance criteria. Across the key states currently named within the FDA Assignment (CA, AZ, and FL), several leading firms have expressed interest to be enrolled in a baseline assessment of field harvest equipment in relation to the development of standards of industry-practice for “What is clean?”. In an effort to support industry with near real-time data, the research and extension team has recruited industry partners to participate in this study to assess harvest machine cleaning and sanitation practices across California, Arizona, and Florida. We have targeted the following machine types for participation in the study; self-propelled Ramsay Highlander, three-point tractor mount, and tender leaf self-propelled. The research teams in each state (CA, AZ, FL) are coordinating on-site assessments with growers, handlers, and/or contract harvest operations across multiple harvesting events. Data being collected includes crop, acres, and temporal factors associated with each harvest event, information related to the harvest including storage location, run time, time between end-of-harvest and cleaning & sanitizing activities. Finally, information related to the sanitation practices including sanitizer used (residual ppm), source water used (w COA), as well as a sanitary design review – ranking based on age, design, and ability to clean and sanitize is also being collected.

In addition to the above collected data, the research and extension teams are also conducting bacterial swabs to assess surface prevalence (presence/absence) and concentration for a variety of indicator organisms including the following; ATP (Charm Field Format), Aerobic Plate Count (APC), generic E. coli, and Total Coliform bacteria. For interested participants, Listeria sp. swabs are also being collected, with samples held until the season has ended and product has moved through the marketplace. For each event, 15 to 30-point swabs are collected during each of three time points; (1) post-harvest, (2) post-cleaning, and (3) post-sanitation. Overall prevalence, and prevalence over time, will be reported as an output in aggregated form. Ultimately, the intent of this research project is to develop a dynamic, aggregated, and confidential dataset from which to offer leafy greens growers, shippers, handlers, harvest contractors, and processors to integrate outcomes into “real-time” opportunities for continual improvements and preparedness for audits and inspections.