Translating safety research into everyday applications

Thursday, 28 March, 2013

A new report is helping industry translate produce safety research into everyday applications. Released by the Produce Marketing Association (PMA) and Western Growers, the report aims to help produce industry members understand the latest food safety research and how to apply key findings to their day-to-day operations.

“It can be frustrating for non-scientists to identify key findings in research reports,” said Dr Bob Whitaker, PMA Chief Science & Technology Officer and chair of the Center for Produce Safety (CPS) Technical Committee. “We hope this report helps people from all over our industry understand what this research means and how it might be used in their own food safety programs.”

The report summarises and interprets research presented at the third annual CPS Research Symposium held in June 2012 at the University of Davis, California. Covered in the report are results from 18 CPS-funded projects in four separate areas: Good Agricultural Practices: Buffer Zones and Animal Vectors; Good Agricultural Practices: Irrigation Water Quality; Good Agricultural Practices: Inputs, Cultivation and Harvest; and Wash Water and Process Control.

Co-authored by Whitaker and Hank Giclas, Senior Vice President, strategic planning, science & technology, Western Growers, the report is organised to include an executive summary describing key research trends, a review of each research project and an interpretation of what the findings mean for growing, harvesting and processing operations.

Observations and recommendations regarding industry issues and opportunities and a review of several emerging food safety tools demonstrating potential benefit for the industry are also featured.

“The practical guide is a tool to transfer information from the academic community to users and lay persons,” said Giclas. “We are pleased to work with PMA to continually improve and enhance the fresh produce industry’s preventive practices and programs.”

“Research is important, but it’s what you do with that research that is critical for improving the safety of produce,” added Whitaker.

A Practical Guide to the Scientific Research Presented at the Center for Produce Safety’s 2012 Research Symposium is available here.

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