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CPS to start 10 new food safety projects

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Woodland, CA, January 24, 2024 – To help answer the fresh produce industry’s most urgent food safety questions, Center for Produce Safety BB #:339618 has just funded 10 new research projects, valued at just over $2.7 million.

The funded principal investigators hail from research organizations in five U.S. states as well as Spain.

Nine projects were awarded via CPS’s annual call for research proposals, which identified top industry science priorities.

This cycle’s projects are designed to answer questions on topics evaluating and mitigating risks associated with waxing roller brushes, enteric viruses, agricultural water subpart E, and more. The research focuses on whole and fresh-cut produce, field and packinghouses, though CPS findings often apply to the fresh produce supply chain.

To ensure the resulting science best meets industry’s needs, researchers’ proposals were first vetted and refined by CPS Technical Committee members and other expert volunteers. These projects began this month, and will be completed within 1-2 years.

“These timely new research projects were made possible by the generosity of industry contributors to CPS’s Campaign for Research, and grants from state Specialty Crop Block Grant Programs in California, Florida, Texas and Washington, all of whom are committed to enhancing fresh produce food safety,” said Joe Pezzini, chair of CPS’s volunteer Board of Directors and senior director of ag operations for Taylor Farms. “Without their support, CPS couldn’t succeed in our mission to fund science, find solutions and fuel change in produce safety.”

In addition to the nine projects awarded through the annual grant process, CPS awarded one special project, “Tri-State Special Project on Harvest Equipment: A data-informed consensus of “clean for the intended purpose.” CPS funds special projects when an urgent industry need arises between annual grant cycles.

This project is led by Dr. Channah Rock, University of Arizona and Dr. Michelle Danyluk, University of Florida. This project began November 2023 and will end with a final presentation at the 2024 CPS Research Symposium.

A complete list of newly funded projects follows. Researchers present progress reports and final findings to industry and other produce safety stakeholders at CPS’s annual Research Symposium. CPS will also share project statuses and final findings through various knowledge transfer activities, including CPS emails conveying research updates and trade media articles.

Grant Recipients

All projects will begin in January 2024

Alejandro Castillo, Ph.D., Texas A&M Agrilife Research

Control of Listeria monocytogenes on avocado and avocado contact surfaces during dry packing by acetogenins naturally present in avocado seed

Xuetong Fan, Ph.D., USDA Agricultural Research Service

Survival of pathogens on work-in-process fresh-cut produce ingredients 

Kristen Gibson, Ph.D., University of Arkansas System Division of Agriculture

Evaluation of sanitation protocols for nonconventional food-contact surface materials used in produce packinghouses

Susana Guix, Ph.D., University of Barcelona

Improving methods for the assessment of infectious human enteric virus survival in produce 

Nitin Nitin, Ph.D., University of California, Davis

Synergistic antimicrobial activity of food-grade compounds in wax coatings on fruits during wax drying 

Alda Pires, Ph.D., University of California, Davis

Developing a user-friendly risk assessment tool to assess the food safety risks of fresh produce production and landscape use

Channah Rock, Ph.D., University of Arizona

Development of a risk ranking tool for evaluating hazards and risks related to agricultural water subpart E

Matthew Stasiewicz, Ph.D., University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign

Testing wetting agents for soil drag and bootie swabs and validating them in varied agricultural soils

Luxin Wang, Ph.D., University of California, Davis

Characterization and mitigation of food safety risks associated with waxing roller brushes

Channah Rock, Ph.D., Michelle Danyluk, Ph.D. (Special Project)

CPS Tri-State Project on Harvest Equipment: A data-informed consensus of “clean for the intended purpose” All annual research awards can be found on the Funded Research Projects page on the CPS website

CPS’s research program is made possible by funds provided by the Center for Produce Safety’s Campaign Contributors, the Specialty Crop Block Grant programs in California Department of Food and Agriculture, Washington State Department of Agriculture, Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services, and Texas Department of Agriculture.

About CPS
The Center for Produce Safety (CPS) is a 501(c)(3), U.S. tax-exempt, charitable organization focused exclusively on providing the produce industry and government with open access to the actionable information needed to continually enhance the safety of fresh produce.

For more information:
Phone: 530-557-9706