Fresh From the Field, Aug. 1, 2019

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Fresh From the Field is a weekly album showcasing transformative impacts made by partners supported by the National Institute of Food and Agriculture.

Editor: Falita Liles                                                                                                Aug. 1, 2019

Success Stories 

Various colorful tomatoes on grey kitchen table. Getty Images. USDA NIFA Impacts.

Safer Fresh Tomatoes

Tomatoes are a highly nutritious source of minerals, vitamins, and phytonutrients. For the nation to realize the associated benefits, it is important to maintain a high level of consumer confidence in the microbial safety of tomatoes. To that end, scientists from the USDA’s Agricultural Research Service and the University of Florida teamed with Florida tomato growers and packers to address critical food safety data gaps. The industry used their findings to develop “Commodity Specific Food Safety Guidelines for the Fresh Tomato Supply Chain,” adoption of which will reduce microbiological hazards associated with fresh and fresh-cut tomatoes.

NIFA supports this research with the Specialty Crops Research Initiative.

Leafy greens soaking in sink to remove dirt. Getty Images. USDA NIFA Impacts.

The Science of Food Safety

Washing produce can remove harmful bacteria and reduce food-safety risks, but improper washing can spread these bacteria and increase risks. Scientists at USDA’s Agricultural Research Service identified key factors, including sanitizer concentrations and operational conditions, that affect bacteria survival and transference during washing. Industry and a multi-agency taskforce used their findings to develop “Guidelines to Validate Control of Cross-Contamination during Washing of Fresh-Cut Leafy Vegetables” and implement science- and risk-based food safety practices in the produce industry.

NIFA supports this research with the Specialty Crops Research Initiative. 

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@psuresearch avocado pits NIFA Impacts