( Courtesy Center for Produce Safety )

The Center for Produce Safety has chosen 14 more projects to fund, from research on the survival of viruses in surface water to the role of dust in transferring foodborne pathogens.

The projects, at $3.3 million, address current industry needs, according to a release from the Woodland, Calif.-based Center for Produce Safety.

"CPS's work continues through the COVID-19 pandemic because all of us in the fresh produce industry can never take our eyes off of our shared responsibility to enhance produce safety," Vic Smith, chairman of the center’s board of directors and CEO of grower-shipper J.V. Smith Cos., said in the release.

“We appreciate our research community's commitment to helping CPS achieve its mission to fund science, find solutions and fuel produce safety change across the supply chain," Smith said in the release.

The projects begin in January, and findings will be reported during the annual Center for Produce Safety Research Symposium.
The projects, and others funded by the CPS, are on the Center for Produce Safety website.

The researchers and their projects are:

  • Ana Allende, Centro de Edafologia y Biologia Aplicada del Segura (CEBAS) — CSIC: “Identification of quantitative and qualitative patterns of environmental contamination by Listeria spp. and L. monocytogenes in fresh produce processing facilities and evaluation of practical control measures able to eliminate transient and persistent contamination;
  • Kelly Bright, University of Arizona: “When the E. coli hits the fan! Evaluating the risks of dust-associated produce cross-contamination;”  
  • Jinru Chen, University of Georgia: “Overcome critical food safety challenges of blueberry harvesting;” 
  • Francisco Diez-Gonzalez, University of Georgia: “Control of Listeria monocytogenes in processing/packing plants using antimicrobial blue light (aBL);” 
  • Malak Esseili, University of Georgia: “Survival of infectious human norovirus in water and on leafy greens;”
  • Scott Lenaghan, University of Tennessee: “Determination of physical and chemical mechanisms to prevent Cyclospora infection;” 
  • Kevin Mis Solval, University of Georgia: “Using low-cost smartphone-based infrared cameras to evaluate cooling and storage conditions of fresh produce;” 
  • Nitin Nitin, University of California-Davis: “Bio-based antimicrobial coatings for reducing risk of cross-contamination during harvesting;”
  • Nikki Shariat, University of Georgia: “Understanding and predicting food safety risks posed by wild birds;” 
  • Matthew Stasiewicz, University of Illinois: “Digital farm-to-facility food safety testing optimization;” 
  • Abhinav Upadhyay, University of Connecticut: “Application of ultra-fine bubble technology to reduce Listeria monocytogenes contamination of fresh produce;”
  • Mohit Verma, Purdue University: “Field evaluation of microfluidic paper-based analytical devices for microbial source tracking;” 
  • Luxin Wang, University of California-Davis: “Waxing of whole produce and its involvement in and impact on microbial food safety;” and 
  • Meijun Zhu, Washington State University: “Validation of sanitizer disinfection of wash water in dump tank operation of apple packing lines.”

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