• Food Science


    Food Safety Risks for Leafy Greens and Tomatoes from Small Farm Environments Exposed to Manure Dust, Soil Amendments, Insects, and Creek Water


    NON-TECHNICAL SUMMARY: Reducing food borne illnesses associated with fresh produce is a USDA-NIFA food safety strategic goal. Current, industrial-scale production, harvesting, and processing practices for leafy greens (LGs) and tomatoes stipulate certain metrics and procedures that required scientific evaluation. They present potential major impediments for small-scale producers serving local communities. The proposed USDA-AMS national marketing agreement for LGs incorporates these industrial-scale metrics without regard to farm scale. Science-based, cost-effective measures are needed to eliminate/reduce field-borne food-safety risk pathogens from contacting/surviving on/in these two commodities without so severely impeding small-scale producers so that they are forced out of business. This project proposes a multi-institutional approach involving research, education, and extension.

    This food safety and water quality priority area project focuses on the use of a multi-disciplinary approach to accomplish four objectives: 1) to evaluate the efficacy of on-farm treatments for surface water sources for crop irrigation and spray on the microbiological quality of harvested LGs and tomatoes; 2) to evaluate stability measures for manure-based products used as soil amendments and feedstocks for compost tea with LGs; 3) to evaluate the transport/fate of E. coli and Salmonella to LGs and tomatoes by flying insects and dust within a small-farm; and 4) to provide outreach and technical training to produce growers and others in Good Agricultural Practices related to the safe production of fresh market produce. Expected impacts include the training of more than 20 students (four graduates) and enhanced 1890-institutional capacity in food safety of fresh produce.

    This project also proposes a multi-institutional approach involving research, education, and extension to provide science-based evaluations for key elements of field production food-safety metrics challenges confronting small-scale producers. A food safety and water quality priority areas project, it focuses on the use of a multi-disciplinary approach to accomplish four objectives: 1) to evaluate the efficacy of on-farm treatments for surface water sources for crop irrigation and spray on the microbiological quality of harvested leafy greens and tomatoes; 2) to evaluate stability measures for manure-based products used as soil amendments and feedstocks for compost tea with leafy greens; 3) to evaluate the transport/fate of E. coli and Salmonella by flying insects and dust within a small-farm to leafy greens and tomatoes; and 4) to provide outreach and technical training to produce growers and others in Good Agricultural Practices related to the safe production of fresh market produce. Impacts expected include the training of more than 20 students (4 graduates) and enhanced 1890-institutional capacity in food safety of fresh produce.

    FUNDING:  NIFA - Capacity Building Grant

    CONTACT:  Dr. Fawzy Hashem, Research Associate Professor, Department of Agriculture, Food and Resource Sciences, fmhashem@umes.edu