<LO> <LI> To evaluate selected chemical, nutritional, physical, microbiological, and sensory changes in selected foods as affected by technology, handling, or storage. <LI> To gain qualitative and quantitative information on food safety and quality knowledge gaps among consumers and other clienteles.
NON-TECHNICAL SUMMARY: There is a constant change in perishable food supplies due to different production methods, new technologies, different distribution systems, and how consumers handle these products. This research will employ different scientific measurements to evaluate those changes that will affect quality and safety of the perishable food products. The information will be used for education of those who are involved in food production and consumers. <P>APPROACH: We will investigate pre- and post-harvest treatments, preprocessing and processing techniques, and packaging to improve the quality and safety of perishable foods. Methods to inhibit degradation or to promote biosynthesis of bioactive phytochemical components of fruits and vegetables will be investigated. Sensory and instrumental evaluations will be conducted to determine how those treatments affect the flavor and overall sensory attributes and acceptability. Shelf-life studies will also be conducted at appropriate storage temperatures to determine product decomposition. Microbiological evaluation will be performed. Changes in chemical, nutritional, physical, biological, microbial quality and sensory properties of foods as affected by these technologies as compared to the traditional processing techniques will be evaluated. Commodities or food products will be prepared and/or extracted in appropriate manners subsequent analysis. Various quality evaluation before and after processing, handling or storage will be evaluated.