Page Banner

United States Department of Agriculture

Agricultural Research Service

News

USDA FUNDS RESEARCH ON PREVENTION AND CONTROL OF E. COLI O157:H7 IN FRESH PRODUCE
 

WASHINGTON, May 24, 2006 - Agriculture Secretary Mike Johanns announced today that USDA has awarded $1.2 million to a collaborative research effort to identify sources and risk factors of E. coli O157:H7 contamination in fresh produce. The funds will also be used to inform growers about strategies to prevent pre-harvest contamination.

"Consumption of fresh fruits and vegetables is increasing in the United States, highlighting the importance of scientific research that enhances safe growing practices," said Johanns. "This research will help to ensure that our farmers can continue to deliver safe and wholesome products from the farm to the dinner table."

There have been 16 outbreaks of E. coli O157:H7 illness associated with fresh lettuce or spinach since 1995. Several of these were associated with preharvest contamination. Researchers will focus on three key questions:

  • Are vertebrate populations sources of E. coli O15H7 contamination of watersheds?
  • Do climate, landscape attributes and irrigation management practices correlate with an increased risk of contamination?
  • Is in-field contamination of lettuce with E. coli O157:H7 associated with management production practices and environmental risk factors?

USDA's Agricultural Research Service and the University of California College of Veterinary Medicine will collaborate with the California Department of Health Services Food and Drug Laboratory to conduct the research. The results of the study will inform produce growers about specific strategies to prevent pre-harvest microbial contamination.

The grant was funded through USDA's Cooperative State Research, Education and Extension Service's (CSREES) National Research Initiative (NRI). The NRI is the largest peer reviewed, competitive grants program in CSREES. Its purpose is to support research, extension, and education grants that address key problems of national, regional, and multi-state importance in sustaining all components of agriculture.

CSREES advances knowledge for agriculture, the environment, human health and well-being, and communities by supporting research, education, and extension programs in the Land-Grant University System and other partner organizations. For more information, visit http://www.csrees.usda.gov.

Note to Reporters: USDA news releases and program announcements are available on the Internet. Go to the CSREES newsroom at http://www.csrees.usda.gov/newsroom/newsroom.html. Also, anyone with an e-mail address can sign up to receive CSREES press releases automatically. Send an e-mail message to news@lyris.csrees.usda.gov and leave the subject blank. In the message, type 'subscribe news'.



ARS News Articles

Arcobacter: Foodborne Pathogen's Genome Exposed
Apr 24, 2009
Garden Microbe Foils E. coli O157:H7 in Laboratory Tests
Jul 21, 2008
Spice-Rack Favorites Battle E. coli and Other Foodborne Pathogens
Jul 14, 2008
Pathogen Genes Targeted in Studies to Protect Salad Veggies
Jul 02, 2008
Protecting Romaine Lettuce From Pathogens
Jun 27, 2008
Norovirus Proposal Nets Top Research Funding
Oct 22, 2007
"Bad-Guy" Bacterium's Genetic Structure Probed
Oct 19, 2006
Food Poisoning Microbe Targeted in New Studies
Jul 10, 2001
Safeguarding Fresh Sprouts
Jul 27, 2000
Last Modified: 5/25/2006