<OL> <LI> To adapt and verify the performance and validity of two independent, alternative methods for the detection and classification of fecal coliforms and E. coli in leafy lettuce and in soil samples from the production environment.
<LI> To determine whether so-derived measurements will detect time-related changes in types of coliform bacteria / E. coli that can provide an estimate of time elapsed since a contamination event. The latter will be verified under controlled field conditions and in commercial lettuce from Ontario.
To yield analytical methods that provide more realistic estimates of the risk of contamination with enteric pathogens during the production, processing or distribution of lettuce, and by inference of fresh produce. This is a critical requirement for the development of microbiological standards for the validation, implementation and assessment of control strategies.
<P> For more information, please visit the <a href="http://www.omafra.gov.on.ca/english/research/foodsafety/index.html" target="_blank">Ontario Ministry of Agriculture, Food & Rural Affairs (OMAFRA) Food Safety Research Program</a>.