Prepared by Ines Hanrahan, Washington State Tree Fruit Commission, March 2017
In March 2017, the WTFRC board accompanied by WTFRC Manager Dr. Mike Willett, Project Manager Dr. Ines Hanrahan and apple committee member John Gebbers, along with WSU scientists Meijun Zhu and Girish Ganjyal went on a 2-day intensive study tour to Central California. The overarching goals of the trip were to learn about various activities related to food safety research at UC Davis and the Center for Produce Safety (CPS, www.centerforproducesafety.org) and to observe application of contemporary food safety practices in a commercial bean sprout facility.
The group met with Bonnie Fernandez Fenaroli, Executive Director of CPS to discuss current activities of the Center and future enhanced collaboration with the PNW tree fruit industry. Dr. Janneth Piznon, a postdoctoral scientist in Dr. Trevor Suslow’s laboratory, updated the group on key findings related to two projects partially funded by the WTFRC: “Evaluation of an alternative irrigation water quality indicator” and “Assessment of apple packing for Listeria risk”. Dr. Nitin Nitin (Picture 1), lead scientist on a nationally funded, collaborative food safety project, spent time with the group to explain several key aspects of the project titled: “An Integrated Approach to Eliminate Cross-Contamination During Washing, Conveying, Handling and Packaging of Fresh Produce”. Next, Dr. Robert Atwill, Melissa Partyka and Ronny Bond from the Western Center for Food Safety discussed activities of the Center, agricultural water quality and testing methodologies (Picture 2), current research and future plans, collaboration with FDA, and FSMA implementation.
The group enjoyed a tour of Salad Cosmo Sprouts, the largest producer of bean sprouts in the US hosted by the Nakada family and Devon Zagory (Food Safety Consultant, CPS Technical Committee). The group spent time with Dr. Barbara Linke and her doctoral student Jayanti Das, touring the engineering laboratory and discussing ideas on how to study bacterial attachment to metal surfaces (https://research.engineering.ucdavis.edu/master).
The tour wrapped up by meeting with Dr. Stavros Vougioukas, who works in agricultural robotics and the mechanization and automation for specialty crops, focusing on the design, development, and testing of actuators, sensors and control systems (https://faculty.engineering.ucdavis.edu/vougioukas/). Dr. Irwin Donis-Gonzalez (postharvest engineering specialist) briefly introduced himself to the group.
Washington State Tree Fruit Research Commission