The UK Food Standards Agency has issued a call for research to increase our understanding of the interactions between microbial pathogens and fresh produce with the aim of improving the safety of ready-to-eat fruit and vegetables.
The call follows a number of recent outbreaks of illness related to the consumption of fresh produce in Europe. At present there are no decontamination methods capable of guaranteeing the removal of microbial contaminants from produce and there is evidence that pathogens may become internalised in plant tissues.
The Agency is now inviting tenders for proposals designed to address four specific research areas: survivability of pathogens on soiled root vegetables from harvest to retail; internalisation of pathogens in salad plants; bacterial attachment to plant tissues; treatments to prevent pathogen growth on sprouted seeds.
The closing date for applications is 25 September and more information can be found here.