April 2016
A monthly series reporting to the produce industry on CPS research projects

This month's research report is dedicated to the scientists and their projects that were presented at the 2015 CPS Research Symposium. A summary of key learnings was prepared by Dr. Bob Whitaker, Produce Marketing Association. Please join us at the 2016 CPS Produce Research Symposium
on June 28-29, 2016 in Seattle WA. 

2015 CPS Symposium Summary: 
Key Learnings and What They Mean for You

Overview : The sixth annual Center for Produce Safety (CPS) Research Symposium was held in Atlanta, GA in June 2015.  The Symposium featured food safety research programs funded by CPS over the last few years along with discussions by industry, academic and regulatory experts regarding the implications of the research for everyday produce growing, packing and processing operations and how that research might be used to improve company food safety programs.  This summary is designed to capture "key learnings" from the 2015 CPS Symposium and offer our thoughts on why these results should matter as you examine your own food safety programs; especially in light of new Food Safety Modernization Act (FSMA) regulations and our industry's ongoing efforts to improve food safety performance.

Among the key findings from the 2015 CPS Research Symposium:
  • Human pathogens can persist in fruit and vegetable production environments for extended periods of time. There are multiple variables that impact human pathogen survival in our production environments and these need to be considered when developing food safety plans.
  • Mobile apps are currently in development to assist growers in making food safety-related decisions.
  • Understanding of transference of human pathogens from various types of animals to crops has advanced significantly over the last several years. There really are no "risky" animals, just environments that bring animals into contact with human pathogens that might then be transferred to fruits or vegetables in specific instances.
  • Our understanding of the organization and expression of human pathogen genomes is rapidly advancing the development of detection tools, revolutionizing public health investigations and shedding light on new strategies for future human pathogen control.
  • Hazard analysis is still the most important tool in supply chain food safety program development.
  • Validation of preventive controls and verification of practices is critical.
  • Research is providing a better understanding of how sanitizers work biologically and this could lead to next generation disinfectants for use in produce production. 

Dr. Bob Whitaker
Chief Science and Technology Officer
Produce Marketing Association
This work is meant to inform and provoke thought with an eye towards inspiring readers to examine their own food safety programs and using the research to make improvements. It is not meant as a directive on what must be done to produce safe food. As discussed in several places in this paper, food safety needs to be determined on an operation by operation basis; there are no one size fits all solutions
About CPS
The Center for Produce Safety (CPS) is focused exclusively on providing the produce industry and government with open access to the actionable information needed to continually enhance the safety of produce.  Established by public and private partnership at the University of California, Davis, initial funding for CPS was provided by the California Department of Food and Agriculture, the University of California, Produce Marketing Association and Taylor Farms.  Ongoing administrative costs are covered by the Produce Marketing Association, enabling industry and public funds to go exclusively to research. 

Enhancing produce safety through  research, outreach and education
For more information:
Center for Produce Safety
Phone:  530-554-9706

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