UMES participates in USDA-funded research to ensure food at farmers markets are safe | University of Maryland Eastern Shore Marketing Retarget Pixel

UMES participates in USDA-funded research to ensure food at farmers markets are safe

  • Farmers MarketPRINCESS ANNE, MD- (June 19, 2020)- Keeping products sold at Delmarva's farmers markets safe from potential foodborne illness and preparing local farmers for the mandated 2021 compliance to the Food and Drug Administration’s Food Safety Modernization Act is the goal of a nearly half-million dollar USDA Capacity Building Grant.

    Dr. Chyer Kim, a food scientist at Virginia State University is the principal investigator for the three-year project in collaboration with Drs. Salina Parveen, professor of food science and technology at the University of Maryland Eastern Shore; Theresa Nartea, marketing Extension agent with the Virginia Cooperative Extension; and scientists at Delaware State University.

    The number of farmers markets on Delmarva and across the country has steadily increased in the last 20 years as small farmers rely more heavily on Direct to Consumer markets such as farmers markets, roadside stands and Community Supported Agriculture, Parveen said.   In 2017 Karen Stillerman, a senior analyst with the Food Dr. Salina Parveenand Environment Program at the Union of Concerned Scientists, reported that over 167,000 farms sold $8.7 billion worth of food to the public.

    The research project funded by the Capacity Building Grant aims to “assess the bacterial communities, level of foodborne pathogens and prevalence of antimicrobial resistant bacteria on at-risk food products obtained from farmers markets on Delmarva, and to investigate the pathogen transmissions among the neighboring states and develop research-based training modules on safe food production and handling,” Parveen said.

    The findings from the study titled, “Preparing for the Future: Building Capacity for Food Safety Compliance at Farmers Markets,” will be used to conduct research and workshops for stakeholders though each of the institutions’ researchers.

    Gail Stephens, agricultural communications and media associate, School of Agricultural & Natural Sciences, University of Maryland Eastern Shore, 410-621-3850,