Research – Quantifying risk associated with changes in EHEC physiology during post-harvest pre-processing stages of leafy green production

CPS

Summary

The goal of this project is to determine if the time between harvest and end use of romaine lettuce impacts E. coli O157:H7 pathogenicity and detectability resulting in increased health risk. Laboratory scale experiments with inoculated lettuce undergoing simulated harvest and cooling will be used to measure changes in E. coli O157:H7 stress tolerance and virulence. Input from industry partners including temperature data from commercial romaine harvesting and cooling, and details on supply chain logistics, will be combined with the laboratory scale experimental data and used to model risk associated with specific harvest and handling practices. The resulting quantitative tool will be publicly available and allow for growers and producers to determine any practices that should be implemented to reduce the potential for O157 transmission on romaine lettuce.

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