In an effort to help answer the fresh produce industry’s most urgent food safety questions, the Center for Produce Safety (CPS) is funding 14 new research projects, valued at more than $3.9 million.

These 14 new projects are aimed at answering industry questions about leafy greens production in controlled environments, evaluating and mitigating risk from Listeria monocytogenes and Salmonella, and Cyclospora detection. 

Researchers’ proposals were vetted by industry experts on the CPS Technical Committee and other expert volunteers.

One of the fourteen projects has already begun and the other thirteen projects will begin in Nov. 2022 and January 2023. All will plan on being completed within one to two years. Findings will be reported to the industry by researchers at CPS’s annual Research Symposium, and via CPS through other knowledge transfer activities including summaries posted to CPS’s website, and monthly CPS emails conveying research updates.

2022 RFP Grant Recipients:

All projects will begin in January 2023 (*except as noted)

  • Ana Allende, Ph.D., CEBAS-CSIC

Occurrence and transfer of pathogens from the production environment to leafy greens grown in controlled environment agriculture

  • Alejandro Castillo, Ph.D., Texas A&M AgriLife Research

Identification of routes and mechanisms for distribution and establishment of Listeria monocytogenes and Listeria spp. in avocado packing environments

*Began in April 2022 

  • Malak Esseili, Ph.D., University of Georgia 

Optimizing methods for the detection and quantification of infectious human norovirus from fresh berries using human intestinal enteroids

  • Kristen Gibson, Ph.D., University of Arkansas System Division of Agriculture

Microbial risks during indoor leafy green production: Current knowledge and future research needs

*Will begin in November 2022

  • Asis Khan, Ph.D., USDA Agricultural Research Service

A viability assay for Cyclospora and its surrogates Eimeria

  • Jenny Maloney, Ph.D., USDA Agricultural Research Service 

Development of an infrared-functionalized microbalance sensor for Cyclospora cayetanensis detection and differentiation 

  • Channah Rock, Ph.D., University of Arizona 

Microbiological risk assessment using QMRA in preharvest agriculture water treatment systems for leafy greens

  • Matthew Stasiewicz, Ph.D., University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign 

Flexible risk process models to quantify residual risks and the impact of interventions

  • Laura Strawn, Ph.D., Virginia Tech 

A metagenomic approach to food safety risk mitigation in pears 

  • Pilar Truchado Gambao, Ph.D., CEBAS-CSIC 

Evidence for the industrial application of bacteriophages to control Listeria monocytogenes in leafy greens

  • Mohit Verma, Ph.D., Purdue University 

Testbeds for microbial source tracking using microfluidic paper-based analytical devices

  • Qixin Zhong, Ph.D., University of Tennessee 

Supplementing food antimicrobials in commercial edible coatings to enhance the safety and extend the shelf-life of stone fruits

  • Meijun Zhu, Ph.D., Washington State University 

Control of Salmonella and Listeria monocytogenes on peaches through spray-bar brush bed sanitizer intervention

  • Meijun Zhu, Ph.D., Washington State University

Interaction of resident microbiome and Listeria on pears during cold storage

CPS’s research program is made possible by funds provided by the Center for Produce Safety’s Campaign Contributors, the Specialty Crop Block Grant programs in California Department of Food and Agriculture, Washington State Department of Agriculture, Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services, and Texas Department of Agriculture.

About CPS: The Center for Produce Safety (CPS) is a 501(c)(3), U.S. tax-exempt, charitable organization focused exclusively on providing the produce industry and government with open access to the actionable information needed to continually enhance the safety of fresh produce.

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