Almost $2 million in research grants from the Center for Produce Safety will help scientists working on food safety measures for cantaloupe, leafy greens and other fresh produce.

Bonnie Fernandez-Fenaroli, CPS executive director, said the fifth year of research projects in 2013 marks the beginning of a new era for the center. The center is based at the University of California-Davis.

“CPS has reached an exciting and critical point in its evolution,” she said. “Over the past five years it has gone from a concept to a partnership that has provided awards for 69 original research projects.

“In the coming year, we expect CPS will play a greater role in identifying and addressing national research priorities.”

CPS grants include cantaloupe safety projectsSo far, $10.6 million has been spent on the center’s research projects, which Fernandez-Fenaroli said focused on the most critical questions affecting produce safety. For 2013, the center and its Partners in Research program will provide $1.8 million for 10 projects.

“The research being conducted at CPS is applicable to all points of the supply chain,” said Steve Patricio, CPS advisory board chairman and president of Westside Produce, Firebaugh, Calif.

Patricio said collaboration through the Partners in Research program demonstrates what is possible when diverse groups work together.

Contributors to the Partners in Research program include:

  • California Department of Food and Agriculture;
  • Washington State Department of Agriculture;
  • California Cantaloupe Advisory Board;
  • California Leafy Greens Research Program;
  • California Melon Research Board;
  • CPS Campaign for Research; and
  • Washington Tree Fruit Research Commission.

There were 50 research proposals for the 2013 grants, the highest number ever submitted, Fernandez-Fenaroli said.