Washington, Oregon and Idaho producers have agreed to collective research priorities, said Bonnie Fernandez-Fenaroli, executive director of the Center for Produce Safety.
“We’ve funded research with the Washington Tree Fruit Research Commission for three years,” she said. “We’ve not worked with regional research before, though there may be other regional priorities.”
The collaboration could attract additional proposals, she said.
The Center for Produce Safety and its partners plan to fund $3 million in food safety research this year. Awards are to be announced in the fall. The application deadline is March 28. Past funded projects totaling $10.6 million can be viewed online.
The four Pacific Northwest priorities include questions about cross contamination risks from anti-oxidant drenchers used on pears and apples, or from washes done along packing lines.
“Coordinating our food safety work in a regional way allows us to use scarce research dollars as efficiently as possible,” Chris Schlect, Northwest Horticultural Council president, said in a news release. It could also draw added funding from state departments of agriculture in Oregon and Washington, he said.