United Fresh SVP Gives Leafy Greens Report to USDA Panel

WASHINGTON, D.C. -- David Gombas, s.v.p. of food safety and technology for the United Fresh Produce Association here, presented the final report of the International Lettuce and Leafy Greens Food Safety Research Conference to the USDA’s Cooperative State Research, Education, and Extension Service (CSREES) research panel.

The conference report prioritized lettuce and leafy greens research needs into three major areas: intervention strategies, technologies, and validation of standards for field operations; assessment of risk and risk reduction; and microbial ecology of pathogens.

Gombas presented the conference report and research priorities at the USDA-CSREES Plant and Pest Biology Stakeholders’ Workshop. CSREES is the primary federal funding agency for food safety research, and is responsible for overseeing most university-based food safety research.

More than 70 scientists from academia, industry, and government developed the prioritized list of research needs to address the issue of E. coli O157:H7, Salmonella and other human pathogens that can potentially come in contact with lettuce and leafy greens, said United. They had taken part in the International Lettuce and Leafy Greens Food Safety Research Conference, sponsored by the United Fresh Research & Education Foundation in September 2007.

That conference’s major goals were to identify solution-driven research objectives, to build consensus on needs, and to build the working relationships and collaborative partnerships necessary to achieve success.

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