New Study To Help Growers Implement Water Treatment, Minimize Food Safety Risks

Tuesday, November 8, 2016

Faith Critzer, a food safety specialist with University of Tennessee Extension, will lead a new multistate research and outreach project to help fruit and vegetable growers mitigate the risks their water sources might pose to the safety of their produce.

This effort is made possible through USDA National Institute of Food and Agriculture’s Food Safety Outreach Program. The $522,000 grant was announced in October. Ms. Critzer and her colleagues at the University of Tennessee, Annette Wszelaki, a vegetable production specialist, and John Buchanan, a biosystems engineer, have joined with Extension specialists from New Mexico State University, North Carolina State University, the University of Florida and Virginia Tech. This team’s work will help growers understand and become compliant with the Food Safety Modernization Act (FSMA) produce safety rule.

“In our roles as Extension specialists, members of our team have received numerous questions and have had many discussions with growers who currently use surface water for irrigation or application of preventive sprays,” said Ms. Critzer. “The growers understand that surface water can become contaminated with microorganisms that can make people ill if consumed, also known as foodborne pathogens, and they do not want to rely upon monitoring via water testing, which only gives a snapshot of one period in time and may not detect intermittent problems that commonly arise with these water sources.”  So to help the growers protect their produce, Ms. Critzer and the other team members are working to develop training that will equip them with the knowledge to successfully implement water treatment systems on their farms.

Specifically, the team plans to develop a curriculum to educate growers of all sizes and backgrounds about agricultural water treatment systems. Once developed, the Extension specialists will share their curriculum with other specialists who will then train growers. The team also plans to evaluate the short-term and medium-term outcomes that adoption of the curriculum and knowledge of the technology achieves in terms of improved compliance with FSMA regulations.

“Fruit and vegetable growers are concerned about the standards for water applied in the field during irrigation and in protective sprays,” said Ms. Critzer. “This curriculum, which will include hands-on demonstrations, should help growers understand the water quality standards and help them make educated decisions about how to use water treatment systems for this purpose and what systems may work best for their farms.”

Ms. Critzer and her team are very pleased to be tackling this project. “This funding addresses a need that has come directly from our clientele,” she said. “The growers are well educated. They know that foodborne pathogens can potentially come from the environment such as in run-off from rain and from wild and domesticated animals. They want to be proactive in protecting the crops they are growing, and most importantly, to protect the consumers who will be eating the produce with their families,” said Ms. Critzer.

The project team expects to develop the curriculum and begin initial “train-the-trainer” sessions over the next two years.

 


The American Deli Gets 5 Stars For Its Wings

This past Wednesday I accompanied my wife, Gail, to the mall so she could get her walk in as I immersed myself in the newest Brad Thor novel. Being that it was near noon time we decided to grab a bite to eat first. Our normal food choice in the Hamilton Place Food Court is Charley’s Phillys for a Chicken California sandwich, which I highly recommend, as well.   However, ... (click for more)

Food Truck Fridays Coming To Miller Park

With a newly opened park, there will also be a new slate of events and programs to be found in Downtown Chattanooga’s Miller Park, including Food Truck Fridays sponsored by Market City Center. Food Truck Fridays will happen every Friday, Sept. 28 through Nov. 16 from 11:30 a.m.-1:30 p.m. at Miller Park, 928 Market St.    In addition to the Rolling J’s Mobile Bistro, ... (click for more)

Chattanooga Man At Scene Of Carjackings Gets 6-Year Federal Prison Sentence

A Chattanooga man who was at the scene of two carjackings has been sentenced to serve six years in federal prison. Nikolas Milton, 25, appeared before Judge Curtis Collier. A probation report recommended a four-level sentence enhancement, but prosecutor Chris Poole acknowledged there was no proof that Milton was the person who carried out the first carjacking. He said two ... (click for more)

Police Arrest Man On Multiple Car Break-Ins At Signal View Apartments

Police said they arrested a man on multiple car break-ins at the Signal View Apartments on Mountain Creek Road. Maurice Flanigan is charged with three counts of burglary and three counts of theft of property. Police said he was caught by the apartment complex's courtesy office who also works for the Red Bank Police Department. He was also taken into custody on several warrants ... (click for more)

Drink Up, Chattanooga

I attended the meeting to discuss the placement of the sewage treatment plant at the Cambridge Center in Ooltewah today. My problem with the meeting (aka) dog and pony show, is that the meeting started out with the agenda of the Ooltewah Community Council.  After living in this area for 45+ years I have never heard of this group.  I would like for someone to answer ... (click for more)

Roy Exum: Vols: ‘Don’t Let Up’

The idea was hatched a couple of years ago. Some Tennessee football fanatic had gotten wind that an Oklahoma player had documented his baptism to havoc inside Neyland Stadium. Offensive lineman Ty Darlington was part of that 2015 double-overtime slugfest against the Vols and, afterwards, remembered OU’s 34-27 win – after being down by 17 points earlier – was an absolute “dissertation” ... (click for more)