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Posts Tagged: Bonnie Fernandez

Center for Produce Safety awards $2.8 million

The Center for Produce Safety at UC Davis announced 17 awards to researchers around the country for projects designed to mitigate food safety risks associated with growing and harvesting fresh produce, according to a press release issued by the organization.

CPS executive director Bonnie Fernandez-Fenaroli announced the awards yesterday at the Florida Fruit & Vegetable Association’s annual convention in Naples, Fla. News of the $2.8 million disbursement was picked up by The Packer.

Six of the 17 projects are led by UC scientists. They are:

  • Amphibians and reptiles as potential reservoirs of foodborne pathogens and risk reduction to protect fresh produce. Michele Jay-Russell, UC Davis. $142,523

  • E. coli survival on contaminated crop residue. Steven Koike, UC Cooperative Extension. $118,000

  • Pre-harvest environment influence on salmonella and its impact on increased survival capability. Linda Harris, UC Davis. $96,935

  • Developing buffer zone distances between sheep grazing operations and vegetable crops to maximize food safety risks. Bruce Hoar, UC Davis. $83,000

  • Risk assessment of salmonella preharvest internalization due to irrigation water quality standards for melons and cucurbits. Trevor Suslow, UC Davis. $48,747

  • Imaging to evaluate potential infusion of pathogens during vacuum cooling of lettuce leaves and real-time dynamics of microbes on leaf tissues as a function of moisture content. Nitin Nitin, UC Davis. $45,008

CPS was established at UC Davis by a public and private partnership. It funds original research, maintains an online database of global produce safety research and is developing industry training and outreach programs.

"We are pleased with both the quality and the scope of the selected projects," said Bob Whitiker, chair of the CPS technical committee. "These projects go to the heart of the critical food safety questions faced daily by growers and processors in our industry, and will provide them with real-world risk management tools."

Research funding aims to minimize the risk of produce contamination.
Research funding aims to minimize the risk of produce contamination.

Posted on Wednesday, September 22, 2010 at 6:43 AM

USDA provides funds for California specialty crops research

The USDA issued a news release on Friday announcing $55 million in block grants to enhance the competitiveness of specialty crops around the country, with California receiving more than $17 million. Of the 64 California projects, 19 are led by researchers affiliated with UC Agriculture and Natural Resources.

A large share of funding - $1.4 million - goes to nine food-safety projects to be coordinated by UC’s Center for Produce Safety, according to an article in the Fresno Bee.

"Scientists and researchers with the University of California and industry groups are exploring everything from whether frogs and lizards are potential carriers of E.coli to whether dust from a cattle operation can carry E.coli into a vegetable field," wrote Bee reporter Robert Rodriguez.

The executive director of the Center for Produce Safety, Bonnie Fernandez, told Rodriguez the funding comes at a time of heightened awareness of food safety among consumers and farmers.

"There are simply a lot of unanswered gaps of knowledge on these issues," Fernandez was quoted. "We want to know where the pathogens came from, how it attaches to a product and how we can reduce the risk of that happening."

Management of exotic pests is another issue where USDA provided funding for UC research, according to the listing on USDA's website. For example, grants will support efforts to:

  • Release and evaluate four exotic olive fruit fly parasitoids in order to improve sustainable table and oil olive management

  • Test the area-wide application of mating disruption of vine mealybug in Napa County

  • Evaluate the efficacy of organic pesticides for Asian Citrus Psyllid control so science-based control recommendations can be made to organic citrus growers

  • Survey resistance ratios in olive fruit fly populations from California regions not sampled in a previous study

Funds were also made available to expand and improve the online specialty crop production information now available on UC's Fruit & Nut Research and Information Center website and call-in center.

In addition, the new funding will allow UC researchers to work with several school districts and their regional partners to expand their procurement of local seasonal fresh produce, enhance their ability to integrate a specialty crop nutritional curriculum by providing outreach and professional development to school personnel, and assess changes in food preferences and dietary behaviors of children in participating school.

Other UC projects receiving the funding will look into onion seed production, strawberries' ability to restore impaired insulin, steam injection for soil disinfestation, and mealy plum aphid and leaf-curl plum aphid control in prunes.

The UC Center for Produce Safety to receive substantial research funds from USDA.
The UC Center for Produce Safety to receive substantial research funds from USDA.

Posted on Monday, September 20, 2010 at 9:55 AM

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