The National Mango Board, whose first food safety conference is set for March 6, recently became one of several industry partners funding Center for Produce Safety research.
The Mango Food Safety Conference will be in McAllen, Texas, in connection with the America Trades Produce Conference & Expo. Retail, foodservice and government representatives are expected to address issues facing growers, packers and importers, Bill Vogel, board chairman and president of Vision Produce Co., said in a news release.
The Center for Produce Safety and its partners plan to fund $3 million in food safety research this year. The application deadline is March 28.
The board’s mango-specific research priorities include questions raised by the hot water treatments required of most imported fruit. Importers and exporters want to know if the treatments pose a cross contamination risk, and whether mangoes can internalize pathogens as a result. The treatments aim to eradicate fruit fly larvae. The possibility that modifications to the process, such as new water disinfectants, are needed helped prompt the research effort.
Given the length of the mango supply chain, the board is also seeking research on treatments that can be done during shipment.
The University of California-Davis-based center plans to announce awards in the fall. A list of research priorities across fresh fruits and vegetables is online. Past projects totaling $10.6 million can also be viewed.
“This partnership supports the mango industry’s continuing effort to improve food safety best practices and increase mango quality,” William Watson, National Mango Board executive director, said in the release. “We will better understand risk potential and increase mango food safety.”