College of Agriculture & Natural Resources

UMD Center for Food Safety and Security Systems Awarded $4.6 Million to Help Protect Food Supply

Project focuses on setting food safety standards for tomatoes and leafy greens
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University of California, Davis

The University of Maryland’s Center for Food Safety and Security Systems was awarded a two-year grant extension in the amount of $4.6 million for an extensive, multi-institutional project dedicated to developing scientifically-based food safety metrics for tomatoes and leafy greens. The Specialty Crop Research Initiative (SCRI) grant was awarded by the USDA’s National Institute of Food and Agriculture.

During the first phase of this project, which started in October of 2011, researchers conducted greenhouse, field and validation trials to test some of the current food safety measures required by the government and the produce industry. The work has been highly supported by both the produce industry and the FDA as the Food Safety Modernization Act (FSMA) Proposed Rule for Food Safety is moving closer to finalization. The research team presented findings from the laboratory and field trials to the FDA on several occasions over the first three years of the project and has made a significant impact on the development and implementation of scientifically-supportable produce safety standards and metrics that will possibly influence the finalized FSMA rule.

The next phase of the project will focus on working with small- to medium-sized farmers and industry partners to test the effectiveness of practices related to water sources, animal encroachment and adjacent land use, harvesting and processing, and temperature control in various regions of the United States in order to make more concrete recommendations for proposed food safety regulations.

The project team includes researchers from University of Maryland, College Park, University of Delaware, The Ohio State University, University of Florida, University of California-Davis, University of Arizona, Rutgers University, University of Maryland, Eastern Shore, FDA and USDA BARC. 

To learn more, please visit the project homepage.

About the Center for Food Safety and Security Systems: Created in 2006 by an endowment from UMD alumnus Robert Facchinia ’77, the Center for Food Safety and Security Systems (CFS3) is located within the College of Agriculture and Natural Resources at the University of Maryland. The center was established to assemble and coordinate the university's extensive research, education, and outreach capabilities in order to make meaningful improvements in food protection at the regional, national and international levels.

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