The Center for Produce Safety in the US has prepared key learnings summaries of its Annual Research Symposium, with five sessions held over June and July 2020.
The full set of Key Learnings from the CPS Research Symposium is here. The following text is drawn from the CPS Key Learnings:
During Session 1 held on June 23, 2020, the Symposium explored the use of computer-based modelling to help address two burning issues for the produce industry: understanding potential Listeria growth and persistence in whole produce commodities and the development of sampling strategies to support the validity of assumptions surrounding microbial testing needs and design of acceptable protocols (Key Learnings Session I).
In Session 2, the Symposium expanded the knowledge base on Listeria monocytogenes and its persistence and growth on specific commodities and fresh-cut products and examined novel methods to control Listeria growth on food contact surfaces (Key Learnings Session II).
In Session 3, the Research Symposium explored projects that took wholistic, systems approaches to solving challenges with pest intrusion into leafy greens fields, pathogen transference on co-managed farms and the impact of traits associated with concepts of soil health on pathogen persistence. It also examined Cyclospora presence in the irrigation canal systems in the Yuma, AZ production region (Key Learnings Session III).
Session 4 featured the use of genomics and metagenomics to address challenges in identifying new or revisited indicators and index testing-targets of human viral pathogens that may ultimately be used in the produce industry, the distribution and relatedness of Listeria species in the U.S., and the use of that information to better understand source-risk related to facilities and product, identification of competitors of Listeria monocytogenes that might control that organism in composts, and build our knowledge base of bacterial pathogen persistence and rates of genetic diversification in the Yuma and Salinas vegetable production regions (Key Learnings Session IV).
Session 5 featured research describing the “die-off” rates of human pathogens in agricultural water from three locations around the world, the persistence of pathogens in shade-house production environments, pathogen persistence in wash water systems and the potential role
of damaged cells to contaminate washed products, the efficacy of irrigation water sanitation and the potential role of sediments in canal systems as reservoirs of human pathogens (Key Learnings Session V).
Calling all produce safety researchers! Seeking papers for a special issue of MDPI Agriculture “Quality and Safety of Fresh Produce”, with guest editor and Board member of the FPSC, Professor Robyn McConchie.
Deadline of 30 November 2020.
The ARC Training Centre for Food Safety in the Fresh Produce Industry has released information on fresh produce safety and COVID-19 positive workers in processing facilities. Key points are:
- COVID-19 is unlikely to be passed on through fresh produce
- There is a low risk of contracting COVID-19 from fresh produce if handled by a worker who is confirmed positive for COVID-19
- Immediately notify the health department if a worker in the facility tests positive for COVID-19
- Increase contact time and/or concentration of disinfectants on surfaces in the processing environment
For further information, visit the ARC Training Centre’s website here.
For additional information, visit these following sites:
Australian Department of Health: Coronavirus (COVID-19) Resources: https://www.health.gov.au/resources/collections/novel-coronavirus-2019-ncov-resources
Freshcare: Novel Coronavirus (COVID-19) Resources: https://www.freshcare.com.au/resources/novel-coronavirus-covid-19/
Institute for Food Safety at Cornell University: The Coronavirus (COVID-19) Food Industry Resources and FAQs: https://instituteforfoodsafety.cornell.edu/coronavirus-covid-19/frequently-asked-questions/
New Zealand Food Safety Science Research Centre: https://www.nzfssrc.org.nz/node/154
NZ MPI: Coronavirus and Food Safety on COVID-19: https://www.mpi.govt.nz/protection-and-response/responding/alerts/coronavirus/coronavirus-and-food-safety/
The team from the ARC Training Centre for Food Safety in the Fresh Produce Industry has published a review paper in Critical Reviews in Food Science and Nutrition on norovirus and Hep A in berries. Dr Hayriye Bozkurt, Dr Kim-Yen Phan-Thien, Dr Floris van Ogtrop, A/Prof Tina Bell and Prof Robyn McConchie co-authored “Outbreaks, occurrence, and control of norovirus and hepatitis a virus contamination in berries: A review”. The review found that inadequate handler hygiene was the predominant source of pre- and post-harvest contamination, but that the current industrial processing methods (freezing, storage and washing) provided limited efficacy in reducing viral load. They recommended key interventions in personal and environmental hygiene and the development of alternative processing technologies to induce sufficient viral inactivation in berries while maintaining sensory and quality attributes.
Read the review paper here.
“The Guidelines for Fresh Produce Food Safety 2019 ensure Australian produce has the highest safety standards of any produce anywhere in the world”, said Peter Tuohey, Chair, Melbourne Market Authority.
Launching the 2019 version of the Guidelines today at Hort Connections in Melbourne, Mr Tuohey acknowledged that Australian horticulture had seen some damage in recent years through contamination and tampering that impacted producers, retailers and exporters.
“However it is by continuing to evolve and change the standards within these Guidelines that we will meet our consumer expectations”.
“These Guidelines set out the procedures and steps to prevent or deal with contaminations, and covers a comprehensive list of practices and potential hazards to assist growers, packers, transporters, wholesalers and retailers along the supply chain”.
Food Standards Agency: Revised guidance has been published for businesses on how to improve protections for food and drink supply. The Food Standards Agency (FSA) and the British Standards Institute have today published a revised guide for food businesses on how to improve protections for food and drink supply.
Download the full report at food.gov.uk