US – The Conversation: When the COVID-19 pandemic began, not much was known about SARS-CoV-2 (the coronavirus) and its survival in food, on various materials and on surfaces. Since then, several food safety agencies have assessed the risk of potentially acquiring the virus from contaminated food or food packaging. The consensus is that currently, there’s no evidence it’s a food safety risk. More
Posts from the ‘Research & Development’ Category
AU – A recent study by a team from the ARC Training Centre for Food Safety in the Fresh Produce Industry, the Tasmanian Institute of Agriculture and the Food Quality and Design Group (at the University of Sydney, the University of Tasmania and Wageningen University, respectively) explored industry interpretations of food safety guidelines by describing the application of controls in Australian orchards and packhouses.
The assessment, published in the journal Food Control, found that an inconsistent application of water sanitation resulted in variable control of wash water quality and hygiene, and that the industry “could benefit from a better understanding of effective risk mitigation strategies, consistent industry application of food safety controls and improved evidence of controls achieving desired food safety outcomes.” More
AU – The paper ‘Persistence of Human Pathogens in Manure-Amended Australian Soils Used for Production of Leafy Vegetables‘ is now available online in a special issue of the journal Agriculture. The paper, authored by Dr Jenny Ekman and others, has been published as part of the research undertaken for the Hort Innovation project ‘Pathogen Persistence from Paddock to Plate’. Hort Innovation, together with the vegetable industry, completed a study on the survival of human pathogens in soil and irrigation water, and on leafy vegetables. The project was led by the Fresh Produce Safety Centre, in conjunction with Applied Horticultural Research, Freshcare and the University of Sydney. Read more about the project here, read the project report on the Hort Innovation website here and read the full journal article here.
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).