MINIMIZING PATHOGEN TRANSFERENCE DURING LETTUCE HARVESTING BY OPTIMIZING THE DESIGN OF THE HARVESTING DEVICE AND OPERATION PRACTICES
Environmental Microbial and Food Safety Laboratory
Project Number: 1245-32420-005-03
Specific Cooperative Agreement
Start Date: May 01, 2010
End Date: Sep 30, 2014
To develop techniques to improve food safety and quality of fresh and fresh-cut produce using ultra-sound and other emerging technologies; to investigate the effect of various new sanitizers on pathogen reduction and shelf-life extension of fresh-cut fruits and vegetables; and to gain a greater understanding of how fresh-cut processing conditions affect plant metabolism, microbial growth, and their interactions.
ARS will acquire the basic knowledge of the factors influencing pathogen transference during lettuce harvesting. The Cooperator will provide the expertise in equipment design and disinfection. Advanced molecular and microbiological techniques will be applied to quantify pathogen concentrations spanning a range of realistic contaminant loads and field conditions; creative engineering approaches will be utilized to optimize coring knife design and develop enhanced sanitation practices.