Good Fruit Grower

March 1

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Food Safety Committee guides research Bonnie Fernandez-Fenaroli says the Pacific Northwest has been proactive in the food-safety science arena. T The committee has coordinated food safety-related research totaling more than $1 million. by Melissa Hansen he Pacific Northwest Food SafetyCommittee, an industry advisory group representing tree fruit growers, packers, and researchers, was organized in 2007 to guide the Northwest tree fruit industry and Northwest Horticultural Council on food safety issues. Since its inception, the committee has worked with industry and university food safety experts and researchers to coordinate and fund research to better assess microbial risks in the fresh tree fruit industry. In the last four years, the Food Safety Committee has helped coordinate spending of more than $1 million on research dealing with tree fruit food safety and microbial pathogens. Projects have been funded through a variety of means���through specialty crop block grants from the Washington State Department of Agriculture and funding from Pear Bureau Northwest, Washington 10 MARCH 1, 2013 GOOD FRUIT GROWER Tree Fruit Research Commission, and University of Washington. Each year, the committee develops research priorities to help researchers focus their efforts. Its current priorities are: 1. Orchard setting���frequency of human pathogen detections under typical orchard conditions (soils, irrigation/overhead cooling, bin cooling, hydrocooling of mature fruit pre- and postharvest) and survival rates of the pathogens 2. Packing house operations���examination of fruit packing house operations and their impact (reduction/elimination) on human pathogens and cross contamination 3. Packing house sanitation���analysis of packing house sanitation and its importance in the potential to transfer of human pathogens to fruit 4. Drenching practices���risks, if any, of cross contamination from drenching practices used at packing houses and fate of human pathogens that might be transferred to fruit from the drenching process after fruit has been in commercial storage for several months Past research projects have included developing baseline information on industry practices relating to microbial pathogens to looking at sanitation of bins to introduction and survival of food-borne pathogens in evaporative overhead cooling practices. Research has been a key component of the Food Safety Committee, says committee chair Warren Morgan of Double Diamond Fruit Company in Quincy, Washington. ���The Northwest tree fruit industry has a very talented group of food safety professionals on this committee contributing their time and efforts to find solutions to the

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