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Microbial Safety of Fresh Fruits and Vegetables

Investigators
Conway, William; McEvoy, James; Gross, Kenneth; Wachtel, Marian; Bhagwat, Arvind
Institutions
USDA - Agricultural Research Service
Start date
1998
End date
2003
Objective
Microbial safety of fresh produce is a priority. Of concern are new vulnerabilities to fresh produce and to produce distribution introduced by fresh cut preparation. The objectives are to develop new understanding and interventions at the molecular level of bacterial attachment, survival, and multiplication in produce to limit relevant contamination while maintaining quality/shelflife and to develop bacterial genome fingerprinting strategies to better detect, distinguish, define, and predict relevant contaminations.
More information
Team approach will be taken involving microbiologists, plant pathologists, food technologists,and postharvest biologists. The capacities of human pathogenic bacteria, including coli O157:H7, Listeria, Campylobacter spp. And Salmonella spp, to attach/multiply/survive on fresh produce, in particular fresh-cut produce, will be studied. Treatments will be devised to limit attachment and multiplication and/or survival of pathogens while maintaining product quality. Also, a unique aspect will be to develop genome fingerprinting capacities of high sensitivity/specificity and low cost to better learn from contaminations, past and future.

A database will be initiated developing DNA signatures to optimally detect, distinguish, and predict fresh produce contaminations. Particular benefits to more fully understanding contaminations of fresh produce will be improved HACCP and improved responses to safeguard consumer confidence. Technical support for regulatory approval of both postharvest treatments and field use of genome fingerprinting will be provided.

Abstract
Funding Source
Agricultural Research Service
Project number
1275-42000-002-00D
Categories
Listeria
Preventive Food Safety Systems
Campylobacter
Salmonella