[Market-farming] another kind of tsunami (News forwarded from another list)

ecoponderosa 3cedarsfarm at gmail.com
Wed Mar 6 10:12:40 EST 2013

(News forwarded from another list)

"If you have questions, please contact Justin Moore @ justin_moore at ncsu.edu

N.C. State, UT scientists secure nearly $2 million grant to improve 
produce safety (March 4, 2013) KANNAPOLIS, NC – A group of scientists at 
the University of Tennessee Institute of Agriculture and North Carolina 
State University are working together to improve the safety of organic 
produce – naturally.

Their study, “Alternative Post-harvest Washing Solutions to Enhance the 
Microbial Safety and Quality of Organic Fresh Produce,” began last fall.

The four-year, multidisciplinary project is supported by a nearly $2 
million grant from the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Organic 
Agriculture Research and Extension Initiative (OREI) program. Dr. Qixin 
Zhong, an associate professor in the UT Department of Food Science and 
Technology, leads the initiative.

“The goal of the project is to provide safe, alternative, sustainable 
and effective treatments to reduce foodborne illnesses caused by E. 
coli, Listeria and Salmonella contamination in organic produce,” said Zhong.

The group hopes to provide those effective treatments in the form of 
alternative organic antimicrobials — naturally occurring substances such 
as organic essential oils that fight pathogens like E. coli — added to 
postharvest wash water.

“To improve microbiological safety of organic produce, there is an 
urgent need to develop washing practices that not only enhance 
sanitation effectiveness but also fulfill the requirement of organic 
fresh produce,” said Zhong.

As part of the project, the researchers also will evaluate the economic 
feasibility of their work and impact on the shelf life of various types 
of organic produce.

“The research team is very eager to make sure the outcomes from this 
project will be applicable to organic growers throughout the United 
States,” said Faith Critzer, a UT Extension specialist and faculty 
member of the UT Department of Food Science and Technology.

To achieve that goal, researchers partnered with a group of organic 
produce growers who will provide feedback throughout the study. In 
addition, the team will share research findings through webcasts, 
written fact sheets and a series of workshops held in Tennessee and 
North Carolina.

The UT Institute of Agriculture provides instruction, research and 
public service through the UT College of Agricultural Sciences and 
Natural Resources; the UT College of Veterinary Medicine; UT AgResearch, 
including its system of 10 research and education centers; and UT 
Extension offices in every county in the state.

North Carolina State University’s project team includes an 
interdisciplinary group of faculty from the Plants for Human Health 
Institute, N.C. Cooperative Extension and the Department of Food, 
Bioprocessing and Nutrition Sciences, all of which are part of the 
university’s College of Agriculture and Life Sciences (CALS). CALS’ 
mission is to improve the economic, environmental and social well-being 
of North Carolina and the world.

Project partners include Dr. Qixin Zhong, associate professor in the UT 
Department of Food Science and Technology; Faith Critzer, UT assistant 
professor and food safety extension specialist; Dr. P. Michael Davidson, 
UT professor of food microbiology; Dr. David Lockwood, UT professor and 
extension specialist in fruit and nut crops; Dr. Annette Wszelaki, UT 
assistant professor and commercial vegetable extension specialist; 
Jonathan Baros, farm and agribusiness management with PHHI; Dr. Jeanine 
Davis, NCSU associate professor and extension specialist in organic 
crops; Dr. MaryAnne Drake, NCSU professor in sensory analysis and flavor 
chemistry; Diane Ducharme, GAPs program coordinator and extension 
associate in horticulture and food safety with PHHI; and Dr. Penelope 
Perkins-Veazie, professor and postharvest physiologist with PHHI.

# # #


Justin Moore
Extension Communications
N.C. State University Plants for Human Health Institute
N.C. Research Campus
600 Laureate Way, Kannapolis, NC 28081
justin_moore at ncsu.edu

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